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Unruly Daughters 


The House of Orleans 



















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Unruly 'Daughters 

Ji T^pmance of the 
House of Orleans :: 

£y H. Woel Williams 

JiuthoT of " Five Fair Sisters," &c. 

With 21 full-page Illustrations, including 
a Frontispiece in Photogravure 



• •• • • • ,*« 

i • • •• « » r t t f 


Printed in Great Britain 




The Due de Chartres gets his ears boxccl by his mother, in the 
presence of the whole Court — Explanation of the maternal 
indignation— Marriage of the Due de Chartres and Mile, de 
Blois, younger daughter of Louis XIV. and Madame de 
Montespan— Their children— Character of Philippe d'Orleans 
— His precocious gallantries — His treatment of his mistresses 
and his " roues "—His mother's opinion of him— Remarks 
of Voltaire— His portrait by Saint-Simon— The Duchesse 
d'Orleans— Her personal appearance— Her conversational 
powers — Her incredible indolence — Her " almost Satanic " 
pride — Her relations with her husband — Her affection for her 
elder brother, the Due du Maine— Influence of her waiting- 
women over her — Despotism which she aspires to exercise over 
the members of her Household — Antipathy between her and 
Madams — Uncomplimentary references of that princess to her 
daughter-in-law — Deplorable manner in which the Duchesse 
d'Orleans neglects her duty towards her children * 


The Orleans princesses — Their neglected childhood— Serious ill- 
ness of Mademoiselle, whose life is saved by her father's care — 
Singular affection of the Due d'Orleans for his eldest daughter 
— Unsuccessful endeavour of the Duchesse d'Orleans to obtain 
precedence for her children over the Princes and Princesses of 
the Blood — She determines to marry Mademoiselle to the Due 
de Berry, youngest son of the Dauphin — Diplomatic move of 
the young princess — Obstacles in the way of the proposed 
marriage — Intrigues of Saint- Simon and the Duchesse de 
Bourgogne on behalf of Mademoiselle — Louis XIV. decides in 
favour of that princess and obliges the Dauphin to consent 
to the marriage — The Due de Berry — Anecdotes of his boy- 
hood — His appearance and character — Visit of Mademoiselle 
to Versailles — A singular imbroglio — Marriage of the Due de 
Berry and Mademoiselle — Early years of Miles, de Chartres 
and de Valois, second and third daughters of the Due and 
Duchesse d'Orleans— The two little princesses are sent to the 
Abbey of Chelles 2 9 

5739? s 



The Duchesse de Berry— Her portrait by Largilliere— Madame' s 
description of her— Her odious character — Her intimacy 
with the Duchesse de Bourgogne — Her jealousy of that prin- 
cess — Her husband's infatuation for her — She gets disgrace- 
fully intoxicated at Saint-Cloud— She joins the *' Cabal of 
Meudon " — Rupture between her and the Duchesse de Bour- 
gogne — She persuades the Due de Berry to break off his 
friendly relations with his sister-in-law — She is severely 
reprimanded by the King— Illness and death of the Dauphin 
— Despair of the Duchesse de Berry, who sees all her plans 
ruined by this event— Magnanimity of the Duchesse de Bour- 
gogne, now Dauphine — Indignation of the Duchesse de Berry 
at being compelled to render ceremonial service to her sister-in- 
law — Abominable rumours concerning her relations with her 
father — Saint- Simon informs the Due d'Orleans of these, and 
the prince, to his astonishment and indignation, reports the 
conversation to his daughter — The Duchesse de Berry gives 
birth prematurely to a daughter — Insolence of the princess 
towards her mother — Madame is charged by the King to 
reprimand her granddaughter— Mile, de Vienne— The affair 
of the diamond necklace .... 




Successive deaths of the Dauphine, the Dauphin, and the little 
Due de Bretagne— Joy of the Duchesse de Berry— Altered 
situation of the princess, who, by the death of her sister-in- 
law, becomes the first lady of the Court — Lively passage-at- 
arms between her and Madame — She becomes pregnant : 
rigorous precautions insisted upon by the King — Cruel dis- 
appointment which she inflicts upon the old Marechal de 
Bezons — She gives birth to a son, who, however, does not long 
survive — She gains the favour of the King, and her position 
becomes a very enviable one — Her relations with her husband 
— Intrigue between the Due de Berry and one of his wife's 
waiting-women — Compact between the prince and princess, 
which leaves them both free to follow their own inclinations — 
Violent passion of the Duchesse de Berry for her husband's 
first equerry, La Haye — She endeavours to persuade him to 
carry her off to the Netherlands— Accident to the Due de 
Berry — His illness and death — Exaggerated grief affected 
by his widow — Birth of a posthumous daughter — Indulgence 
of Louis XIV. for the duchess during the last months of his life 83 




Philippe d'Orleans becomes Regent and the Duchessc de Berry 
prepares to reap the fruits of her father's triumph — She 
obtains the Luxembourg as a residence — Her attitude towards 
her mother — She secures permission to have officers to com- 
mand her guards — She endeavours to usurp the honours of 
a queen — Her quarrel with the Prince de Conti — Her adven- 
ture in the gardens of the Luxembourg — She closes them to the 
public — She insults the civic dignitaries of Paris — She obtains 
La Muette as a country-residence — Her amours — The 
Chevalier de Rion — Portrait of this personage — Madame 
de Mouchy — Her detestable character — Rion becomes amant 
en titre of the Duchesse de Berry — Infatuation of the princess 
— Singular attitude of Rion towards her — Supper-parties at 
the Luxembourg — A complaisant confessor . . . 106 


The Duchesse de Berry takes an apartment at the Carmelite con- 
vent in the Faubourg Saint- Jacques, and varies her scandalous 
life by intervals of prayer and fasting — Indignation of the 
Regent at the public reign of Rion, to which, however, he 
tamely submits — The Duchesse de Berry assists at the orgies 
of the Palais-Royal — Continuation of the abominable rumours 
concerning the relations between Philippe d'Orleans and his 
eldest daughter — The satires of Voltaire — The Philippiques 
of La Grange-Chancel — Contemptuous indifference to public 
opinion shown by the Regent and the Duchesse de Berry — 
— Voltaire sent to the Bastille — First representation of the 
poet's (Edipe — Conduct of the parterre— Visit of Peter the 
Great to the Duchesse de Berry — Distressing embonpoint of the 
princess — Her gluttony — A revolution of the palace : Rion 
becomes first equerry to the princess and Madame de Mouchy 
dame d'atours — Indignation of Mesdames de Clermont and de 
Beauvau, dames de compagnie to the Duchesse de Berry, 
who resign their posts — Episode at the Opera — Rion ap- 
pointed Governor of Cognac . . . . . .124 


Mile. d'Orleans at the Abbey of Chelles — She announces her 
intention of taking the veil — Attitude of her relatives towards 
this project — She falls ill, and is removed, on the advice of 
the doctors, to the Abbey of Montmartre — Unfounded report 
that she has decided to renounce her religious aspirations — 
Project of the Duchesse d'Orleans to marry her to the Prince 
de Dombes, eldest son of the Due du Maine — Mile. d'Orleans 



appears in Society — Her portrait by Madame — The singer 
Cauchereau — M. de Saint-Maixent — Mile. d'Orleans persists 
in her desire to enter religion — Futile efforts of her mother 
to coerce her into marrying the Prince de Dombes — The Re- 
gent refuses to sanction the princess becoming a nun — The 
latter, having obtained permission to visit Chelles, announces 
her determination to remain there — The Due d'Orleans en- 
deavours to prevail upon her to renounce this resolve, but she 
remains inflexible — She pronounces her vows — She intrigues 
against the abbess, Madame de Villars, who is compelled to 
resign her post — Mile. d'Orleans is nominated Abbess of 
Chelles — Her consecration . . . . . .139 


Visit of the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine to Paris — Magnificent 
fete in their honour at the Luxembourg — An unbidden 
guest — Attentions paid by the Duchesse de Berry to the 
Duchess of Lorraine — Reconciliation between Madame and her 
granddaughter — Alteration in the latter's conduct towards 
her mother — She " greatly edifies " the Carmelites during 
the Holy Week of 171S — Fetes in honour of the Duchesse 
de Berry at Chantilly — Ungracious behaviour of the princess 
— She resumes her effort to usurp the honours of a queen — 
Indignation of the public — Protests of the Corps Diplomatique 
— She becomes enceinte — Her efforts to conceal her condition 
— She gives birth to a daughter, and her life is in serious 
danger — Refusal of the Sacraments by the cure of Saint-Sul- 
pice and the Cardinal de Noailles — The princess recovers — 
Her secret marriage with Rion — Consideration of the question 
whether this event took place before or after her illness . . 158 


The Duchesse de Berry leaves Paris for Meudon — Opposition 
of the Regent to the declaration of her marriage with Rion — 
He visits the princess but twice in three weeks— His conver- 
sation with Saint-Simon — Rion ordered to join his regiment 
on the Spanish frontier — Painful scenes between father and 
daughter — A fatal supper-party — The Duchesse de Berry 
falls ill — She removes from Meudon to La Muette — Her 
cruel sufferings — She becomes better, but this improvement 
is speedily followed by a dangerous relapse — Her condition 
declared to be hopeless — Rival doctors — Death of the 
Duchesse de Berry — Grief of the Regent, which, however, is 
of short duration — Obsequies of the princess — Her debts — 
Madame de Mouchy and the ring-case — Banishment of this 
personage — Disgrace of Rion — His later years . . . 1S0 




Charlotte Aglae d'Orleans, Mile, de Valois, makes her appearance 
in Society — She refuses to marry the Prince de Dombes — 
The young princess is sent to her grandmother at Saint-Cloud 
— Madame' s portrait of her — The Due de Richelieu — His extra- 
ordinary fascination for women — His liaison with Mile, de 
Charolais — Refusal of the Condes to countenance their 
marriage — Violent passion of Mile, de Valois for the duke — 
Open rivalry between her and Mile, de Charolais — Indigna- 
tion of the Regent — Richelieu conspires with Spain — He 
falls into a trap prepared for him by the French Government 
— Warning which he receives from Mile, de Valois — He is 
arrested and conducted to the Bastille — Despair of the two 
princesses, who make common cause to secure the liberation 
of their idol — Their visit to the Bastille — Exasperation of 
Madame against her granddaughter — Matrimonial projects in 
regard to Mile, de Valois — A manage manque — Francesco 
d'Este, Prince of Modena, proposed as a husband — The Regent 
accords his daughter the liberty of Richelieu, in consideration 
of her consenting to marry this prince — Amorous escapades 
of the released gallant — Aversion of Mile, de Valois to the 
alliance arranged for her — Her marriage — She falls ill of 
measles, which she has purposely contracted, but recovers — 
Her despair ......... 203 


Departure of Mile, de Valois — Her retinue — Premeditated delays 
— Incessant quarrels between the French and Italians in her 
train — Nightly gambling-orgies — Strained relations between 
the princess and the Duchesse de Villars : the affair of the 
soupcoupe — The Conte di Salvatico, Envoy Extraordinary 
of the Duke of Modena — His ridiculous passion for the princess 
— His love transformed into hatred by her refusal to listen to 
him — Reception at Lyons — Arrival at Avignon : visit to the 
Ghetto — Madame de Bacqueville, favourite of the princess — 
Salvatico writes to the Regent demanding her recall — The 
Regent consents, but it is decided to conceal this decision from 
the princess until she has embarked at Antibes — Suspicions 
of the princess : her letter to her father — Arrival at Antibes — 
The princess is informed of the recall of her favourite . .233 


Arrival at Genoa — Unpleasantness over the payment of the 
princess's dowry : impertinent conduct of Salvatico — Depar- 
ture for Modena — The Duke of Modena and his two sons 
meet the princess at Reggio — Portrait of Francesco d'Este — 



Character of the Duke — Deadly monotony of his Court — 
Persecution of the princess by Salvatico — The princess falls ill 
of smallpox— Singular conjugal relations — Letters of the Abbe 
Colibeaux, confessor to the princess, on this delicate subject — 
Chavigny, French Minister at Genoa, sent by the Regent to 
verify the facts — His report — Severity of the Duke towards 
the young couple — Pilgrimage to Loretto — The princess per- 
suades her husband to fly with her to France — Her letter to 
her father — The Regent refuses to receive them, and de- 
spatches the Abbe Philibert to persuade them to return — 
Despair of the princess — Her return to Modena — Mortifying 
reception — Salvatico resumes his persecution — Ineffectual 
protests of Chavigny and Philibert — Return of Francesco 
d'Este — Visit of the prince and princess to Lucca — They take 
up their residence at a country-house near Reggio — Anguish 
of the princess on learning of the reported marriage of the 
Due de Richelieu — She becomes more reconciled to her lot — 
Birth of a son ......... 245 


Mile. d'Orleans as Abbess of Chelles — Improvements which she 
executes at the convent — She constitutes herself the official 
protectress of the Jansenists — Efforts of the Regent to induce 
her to renounce her heterodox views — -He exiles Pere Ledoux, 
almoner of Chelles — The abbess retaliates by driving away 
Madame de Fretteville, who has been won over by the Jesuits 
— Extraordinary conduct of the princess, who transforms her 
abbey from a monastic retreat into a kind of country-house 
and leads with her nuns a life of pleasure — Calumnies — 
Sudden reformation of the abbess, who passes from dissipation 
to austerity — She leaves Chelles, and, though still retaining 
her title of abbess, becomes temporary superior of the Abbey 
of the Val-de-Grace — Brief return to worldliness, followed 
by increased austerity — She seeks to convert the Regent, and 
reprimands him severely for the scandalous manner in which 
he distributes the ecclesiastical patronage of the Crown . . 268 


Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans, Mile, de Montpensier, fourth daughter 
of the Regent — Negotiations concluded for the marriage 
of Louis XV. to the Infanta Ana Victoria, and for that of 
Don Luis, Prince of the Asturias, to Mile, de Montpensier 
— Embassy of Saint-Simon to Madrid — -Festivities in Paris 
— Departure of Mile, de Montpensier for Spain — Char- 
acter of this princess — Her portrait by Madame — Her 



journey to the frontier — The exchange of the princesses 
—Meeting with Philip V. and Don Luis at Cogollos— The 
marriage : an ignorant cardinal — Saint-Simon obtains the 
public " consummation " of the marriage — Letter of the 
Princess of the Asturias to her father— Philip V. and Eliza- 
beth Farnese — Influence of the Queen over her husband — Their 
daily life — Severity of Philip V. towards transgressors of the 
moral law — Illness of the princess — Anxieties of the King 
and Queen — Extraordinary behaviour of the princess — She 
obstinately refuses to attend the State ball to be given in her 
honour — Saint-Simon's interview with her — The ball is aban- 
doned — Conclusion of Saint-Simon's embassy — Incredible 
vulgarity of the princess at his farewell audience — Improve- 
ment in her conduct — Affection of Don Luis for her . .279 


Ambitions of Elizabeth Farnese in regard to her eldest son, 
Don Carlos — The Regent determines to offer to the latter the 
hand of his fifth daughter, Mile, de Beaujolais— Beauty and 
amiable character of the little princess — The affair is satis- 
factorily concluded— Joy of the Queen of Spain — Dowry of 
Mile, de Beaujolais — Her trousseau — She sets out for Spain 
— Her reception at Madrid — Mutual affection of Mile, de 
Beaujolais and her fiance — The little princess- conquers all 
hearts — Jealousy of her elder sister — The Prince and Princess 
of the Asturias begin to live together — Their affectionate 
relations — Resumption of the eccentricities of the princess — 
Abdication of Philip V. in favour of his eldest son . 306 


The accession of Luis I. hailed with great satisfaction at Madrid 
— The new King reigns only nominally, and Philip V. and 
Elizabeth, from their retreat at San-Ildefonso, continue to 
govern — Docility of Luis to his father's wishes— His boyish 
pranks — The young Queen, freed from all constraint, treats 
her husband with contempt, and behaves in an extraordinary 
manner — She accuses her major-domo, Foucault de Magny, of 
grossly insulting her— Despatch of the Marechal de Tesse to 
the Due de Bourbon— Magny is recalled to France— An- 
tipathy of Elizabeth Farnese towards her daughter-in-law — 
Curious despatches of Tesse — Despair of Luis I. at the out- 
rageous behaviour of his consort — Episode at San-Ildefonso — 
The young Queen, refusing to listen to any remonstrances, 
is conducted to the Alcazar and kept in close confinement — 



After a captivity of nearly three weeks, she is set at liberty 
and restored to favour — Illness and death of Luis I. — Pitiable 
situation of his widow, the Court of Spain being unwilling to 
keep her or France to receive her — It is finally decided that 
she shall return to France — Rupture of the marriage arranged 
between Louis XV. and the Infanta — Indignation of the Court 
of Spain— The widowed Queen and Mile, de Beaujolais are 
sent back to France — Sad life of the former — Her death — 
Constancy of Don Carlos and Mile, de Beaulojais — Negotia- 
tions for their marriage — Attitude of Fleury — Death of the 
princess .......... 317 


Unfortunate effect of the Regent's death upon the situation 
of the Princess of Modena — Her discreet conduct — Arrange- 
ment with her father-in-law, who, however, continues to 
subject her to all kinds of petty humiliations — Death of her 
little son — The prince and princess make their way to Stras- 
bourg, in the hope of being permitted to enter France ; but 
are compelled to return to Italy — Intolerable situation — 
Interference of the French Government — New arrangement 
with the Duke, which the latter again contrives to evade — 
Cruel indifference of the Duchesse d'Orleans to her daughter's 
unhappy lot — Invasion of the duchy of Modena — The prince 
comes to Paris, but his wife, after reaching Lyons, is ordered 
to return to Italy — She at length secures authorisation to visit 
Paris, on condition that she preserves a strict incognito — 
Odious behaviour of the Palais-Royal towards her — Quarrel 
with the Queen of Spain — Repeated endeavours of her mother 
and brother to secure an order for her departure — Death of 
Duke Rinaldo and accession of Francesco d'Este — The 
Duchess of Modena remains in Paris — Her departure for Italy 341 


The death of the Regent deprives the Abbess of Chelles of her 
influence in ecclesiastical matters — She continues, however, 
her efforts on behalf of the Jansenists — She issues a manifesto, 
which is suppressed by a decree of the Council — Her adven- 
ture with the Cardinal de Bissy — She is forbidden to leave her 
convent — She resigns her abbey, and retires to the priory of 
the Benedictines of la Madeleine du Trainel — Piety of her last 
years — Her Reflexions morales sur le Nonveau Testament — Her 
death .......... 354 



i A'.r. 

Louise Diane d'Orleans, Mile, dc Chartrcs, youngest daughter 
of the Regent — Her birth — Her marriage with the Prince de 
Conti — Dispute between the unmarried Princesses of the 
Blood, on the question of bearing the train of her mantle — 
A delicate conversation — Birth of a son — Death of the princess 
— *' Joyous life " of the Duchess of Modena, which, however, is 
soon interrupted by the outbreak of the War of the Austrian 
Succession — The Duchess secures authorisation to return to 
France, where she is now treated with all the honours due to her 
rank — Her enviable situation at Versailles — She marries her 
eldest daughter to the Due de Penthievre — She occupies her- 
self with her husband's interests — Francesco d'Este, dis- 
gusted with his treatment by France, throws himself into the 
arms of Austria — The Duchess falls into disgrace at Ver- 
sailles — She returns to Italy — Her death . . . 360 

Index ......•••• 3 D 7 


Marie Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans, Duchesse de Berry Frontispiece 

From the painting by Largilliere. 


Philippe II., Due d'Orleans, Regent of France. . . 12 

From an engraving by Francois Chereau, after the painting by J. B. Santerre. 

Francoise Marie de Bourbon (Mlle. dk Blois), Duchesse 
d'Orleans . . . . ... 20 

From the painting by Largilliere, at Versailles. 

Charles de France, Due de Berry . . . . 44 

From a contemporary print. 

Marie Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans, Duchesse de Berry . 58 

From an engraving after the painting by Largilliere. 

Elizabeth Charlotte of Bavaria, Duchesse d'Orleans 

("Madame") . . . ... 84 

From the painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud, at Versailles. 

Marie Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans, Duchesse de Berry, in 
Widow's Weeds . . . ... 102 

From the painting by Louis de Silvestre, at Versailles. 

Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia . . . 134 

From the painting by Nattier, at Versailles. 

Marie Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans, Duchesse de Berry . 172 

From a painting at Versailles by an unknown artist. 

Charlotte Aglae d'Orleans (Mlle. de Valois), Hereditary 
Princess, and afterwards Duchess, of Modena . . 206 

From the painting by Pierre Gobert, at Versailles. 

Francesco d'Este, Hereditary Prince of Modena (after- 
wards Francesco II., Duke of Modena) . . . 246 

From an engraving by Cornelius Meysens. 

Louise Adelaide d'Orleans, Abbess of Chelles . . . 270 

From an engraving after the painting by Malherbe. 

Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans (Mlle. de Montpensier), Princess 
of the asturias, afterwards queen of spain . . 284 

From the painting by Juan Rank, in the Museum of the Prado. 




Elizabeth Farnese, Queen of SrAiN . ... 294 

From an engraving by Syfang. 

Don Luis, Prince of the Asturias (afterwards Luis I., King 
of Spain) . . . . ... 302 

From an engraving by Picart, after the painting by Yiali. 

Philippine Elisabeth d'Orleans (Mlle. de Beaujolais) . . 310 

From a contemporary print. 

Philip V., King of Spain . . . . . 314 

From a contemporary print. 

Luis I., King of Spain . . . ... 324 

From a painting by an unknown artist. 

The Infanta Maria Ana Victoria . ... 334 

From the painting by Largilliere, in the Museum of the Prado. 

Don Carlos, King of the Two Sicilies (afterwards Carlos III., 
King of Spain) . . . ... 338 

From an engraving by Roy, after the painting by Delle Piane. 

Louise Diane d'Orleans (Mlle. de Chartres), Princesse de 

CONTI . . . . ... 362 

From the painting by Pierre Gobert, at Versailles. 



The Due de Chartres gets his ears boxed by his mother, in the presence 
of the whole Court— Explanation of the maternal indignation — 
Marriage of the Due de Chartres and Mile, de Blois, younger daughter 
of Louis XIV. and Madame de Montespan — Their children — Cha- 
racter of Philippe d 'Orleans — His precocious gallantries — His treat- 
ment of his mistresses and his " roues " — His mother's opinion of 
him— Remarks of Voltaire — His portrait by Saint-Simon — The 
Duchesse d 'Orleans — Her personal appearance — Her conversational 
powers — Her incredible indolence — Her " almost Satanic " pride — 
Her relations with her husband — Her affection for her elder brother, 
the Due du Maine — Influence of her waiting-women over her — 
Despotism which she aspires to exercise over the members of her 
Household— Antipathy between her and Madame — Uncomplimen- 
tary references of that princess to her daughter-in-law — Deplorable 
manner in which the Duchesse d'Orleans neglects her duty towards 
her children. 

ONE morning, in the winter of 1691-92, the courtiers 
of Louis XIV. were assembled in the Galerie des 
Glaces at Versailles, awaiting the rising of the Council 
and the King's Mass. That something of unusual in- 
terest was in the wind was evident, for they conversed 
together eagerly, in low tones, casting ever and anon 
covert glances in the direction of a rather pleasant- 
looking youth of seventeen or eighteen, who stood apart 
from the rest, speaking to no one, and manifestly very 
ill at ease. Presently, at the far end of the gallery 



appeared a strange figure. It was that of a middle-aged 
lady, short and abnormally stout, with a crooked nose, 
fat cheeks deeply pitted by smallpox, a large mouth 
wrinkled at the corners, a square jaw, and a pair of keen 
blue eyes. She was attired in a gown which, when the 
world was younger, had doubtless been magnificent, but 
was now frayed and soiled ; she wore no jewels, and her 
hair was arranged in a style which would have distracted 
a coiffeur. Nevertheless, as she passed down the gallery, 
the courtiers bowed low before her, which showed that 
she must be a very exalted personage indeed. 

As the stout matron approached the spot where the 
pleasant-looking youth was standing, the latter coloured 
with embarrassment and looked about him as though 
seeking some means of escape. Then, perceiving that all 
eyes were fixed upon him, with a great effort he con- 
trived to compose his countenance, and, stepping for- 
ward, made a profound reverence and attempted to kiss 
the lady's hand. But what was his confusion and the 
amazement of the spectators, when the hand which he 
was about to salute was angrily snatched away, and he 
received from it so resounding a box on the ear that it 
could be heard from one end of the gallery to the 
other ! 

The stout lady was Elizabeth Charlotte, daughter of 
Charles Louis, Elector Palatine, and the second wife of 
Philippe, Due d'Orleans, brother of Louis XIV. ; the 
youth whose ears she had just boxed was her only son, 
Philippe, Due de Chartres, the future Regent of France ; 
and the offence which had earned him such treatment, in 
the presence of the whole Court, was that, on the previous 
evening, he had consented to wed Mile, de Blois, the 


younger of le Grand Monarque's two surviving daughters 
by Madame de Montespan. 

Louis XIV. had always been keenly interested in the 
aggrandizement of his legitimated children. In January 
1684, he married his daughter by Louise de la Valliere 
to Louis Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti ; in the 
summer of the following year, he married his elder 
daughter by Madame de Montespan to the Due de 
Bourbon — Monsieur le Due, as he was now officially 
styled — grandson of the Great Conde ; and he had for 
some time past determined to seek for her younger sister, 
Mile, de Blois, a much more illustrious alliance and to 
bestow her hand upon his nephew, the Due de Chartres, 
a " grandson of France." 

For the disapproval with which such a match would 
be regarded by the public Louis cared very little ; but 
he was aware that the opposition which his project would 
be certain to encounter from both Monsieur and Madame 
— to give the Due and Duchesse d'Orleans their official 
titles — would constitute a more serious obstacle. Mon- 
sieur was infinitely proud of his rank and exceedingly 
tenacious on all points which concerned it ; while his 
outspoken German consort had never troubled to con- 
ceal her views regarding royal bastards and mesalliances. 
He was also a little apprehensive as to the attitude which 
the Due de Chartres might assume, for if he failed to 
appreciate the honour of becoming the King's son-in-law, 
his parents might very well make his reluctance a pre- 
text for declining the proposal. 

To overcome these difficulties, his Majesty applied to 
his Grand Equerry, Louis de Lorraine, Comte d'Armagnac, 
brother of the Chevalier de Lorraine, the unworthy 


favourite of Monsieur. The two brothers readily en- 
tered into the scheme, and undertook to answer for the 
consent of Monsieur, in consideration of their services 
being rewarded by their inclusion in the next promotion 
to the coveted Ordre du Saint-Esprit, to which the King 
somewhat reluctantly agreed. Monsieur, who was com- 
pletely under the influence of the Chevalier de Lorraine, 
was soon won over ; and, in order to make sure of the 
Due de Chartres, the chevalier had recourse to the 
good offices of the young prince's tutor, the Abbe Dubois 
(afterwards the celebrated Minister), who owed much to 
his protection. 

This astute personage had already succeeded in gaining 
a great ascendency over the mind of his pupil ; never- 
theless, when he broached the subject of the marriage 
to him, he was obliged to employ all his powers of per- 
suasion to ward off a direct refusal. However, that was 
deemed sufficient for the success of the project, and as 
soon as Louis XIV. learned from Dubois that the ground 
was prepared, he resolved to hasten matters, and accord- 
ingly summoned the Due de Chartres to his cabinet. 

A day or two before, however, Madame had got wind 
of what was going on. She was beside herself with indig- 
nation, and, sending for her son, spoke to him in very 
forcible terms of the indignity of such a match, and 
drew from him a promise that he would never give his 
consent. " Thus," says Saint-Simon, " he was feeble 
towards his tutor, feeble towards his mother, and there 
was aversion on the one side and. fear on the other, and 
great embarrassment on all sides." 

On entering the King's cabinet, the Due de Chartres 
found his Majesty alone with Monsieur. The King in- 


formed the young prince that he was anxious to see 
him married, and that as, owing to the war, an alliance 
with a foreign princess was out of the question, while 
none of the Princesses of the Blood was of a suitable age, 
he had decided that he could not give him a better proof 
of his affection than by offering him the hand of his 
own daughter. He added that, however much he might 
desire the match personally, he had no wish to constrain 
him in the matter, but left him complete freedom of 

This discourse, pronounced with that almost terrifying 
majesty which Louis XIV. knew so well how to assume 
when occasion required, completely unnerved the un- 
fortunate prince and temporarily deprived him of the 
power of speech. He thought to escape from his delicate 
position by throwing the responsibility upon Monsieur 
and Madame, and, when he had at last recovered his 
voice, stammered out that the King was master, but that 
a son's will depended upon that of his parents. ' What 
you say is very proper," rejoined the King, " but, pro- 
vided you consent to my proposal, your father and mother 
will offer no opposition. Is it not so, my brother ? ' he 
continued, turning to Monsieur. 

Monsieur expressed his approval, as he had already 
done, upon which his Majesty observed that the only 
person who remained to be consulted was Madame, and 
sent for her forthwith. 

When she appeared, the King acquainted her with the 
project, saying that he felt confident that she would offer 
no objection to an alliance which he desired so ardently, 
and to which both her husband and her son had given 
their consent. At the same time, he assured her, as he 


had the young prince, that he had no wish to force it 
upon her. He spoke as though she could not fail to be 
overjoyed at the proposition, although he was well aware 
of the contrary. 

Madame, who had reckoned confidently upon her son's 
refusal, was dumb with amazement and indignation. She 
cast two furious glances at Monsieur and the Due de 
Chartres ; said that, since they desired it, she had nothing 
to say ; made a slight reverence, and returned to her 
apartments. The Due de Chartres, anxious to explain 
how everything had happened, hastened after her; but 
the exasperated matron declined to listen to a word of 
what he wished to say, and drove him from the room 
with a torrent of tears and reproaches. 

That evening there was an " Apartment." 1 Almost 
as soon as the concert with which these functions always 
began was over, the King, who had been working with 
several of the Ministers in turn at Madame de Main- 
tenon's, sent for Monseigneur 2 and Monsieur, who had 
just sat down to lansquenet ; for Madame, who was 
listlessly watching a game of hombre ; for the Due de 
Chartres, who, with a rueful countenance, was playing 

1 An " Apartment " was an assemblage of the whole Court in the 
grand salon, from seven o'clock in the evening until ten, at which hour 
the King supped ; and after the royal supper in one of the salons at 
the chapel end of the Galerie des Glaces. It began with music, after 
which the card-tables were brought in. Etiquette was to a large extent 
laid aside on these occasions, and every one was free to amuse himself 
as he pleased. " Apartments " were held on three evenings a week 
during the winter ; the other three nights being set apart for the 
theatre ; while the Sunday was free. When these functions were first 
instituted, the King was frequently present, but lately he had ceased 
to attend. 

2 Louis de France, only son of Louis XIV. According to established 
custom, the eldest son of the Sovereign bore the title of Dauphin ; but 
an innovation was made in this particular instance. 


chess ; and for Mile, de Blois. That young lady, although 
she had received orders to make an unusually elaborate 
toilette, had not the faintest suspicion of what was in 
store for her, and, being very timid and terribly afraid of 
her royal father, imagined that she had been summoned 
to receive a reprimand. She arrived, in consequence, in 
so pitiful a state of trepidation that Madame de Maintenon 
took her upon her lap, in order to reassure her. 

" The fact of these royal persons being sent for by 
the King," says Saint-Simon, " at once caused people to 
suspect thit a marriage was in contemplation. In a few 
minutes they returned, and the news was made public. 
I arrived at that moment, and found everybody in 
clusters and profound astonishment depicted upon every 
face. Madame was promenading the gallery with 
Chateaithier— her favourite, and worthy of being so. 
She stnde along, handkerchief in hand, weeping bitterly, 
talking pretty loudly, and looking like Ceres after the 
rape of her daughter Proserpina. Monsieur, who had 
returnee to lansquenet, seemed overwhelmed with 
shame, and his son appeared in despair ; while the 
bride-ele:t was extremely embarrassed and unhappy. 
Though very young, and inclined to be dazzled by such 
a marriaje, she understood what was happening and 
feared the consequences." 

At ten o'clock, Louis XIV. supped with the Royal 
Family, h the presence of his courtiers. He appeared 
perfectly it his ease, which certainly could not be said 
of the rest of the august company. Madame s eyes were 
still full of tears, which every now and again evaded her 
restraining handkerchief and overflowed on to the table. 
Upon the Luc de Chartres, who sat next her, with sus- 


piciously red eyes, she did not condescend to bestow so 
much as a glance ; nor upon her husband ; and all three 
ate scarcely anything. It was remarked that the King 
treated her with the utmost graciousness, and offered 
her nearly all the dishes which were before him. She 
refused them brusquely ; nevertheless, he continued his 
courtly attentions. Upon leaving the table, his Majesty 
made his sister-in-law a very marked and very low 
reverence, " during which she executed so complete a 
pirouette that when the King raised his head, he found 
nothing but her back before him, removed about a step 
farther towards the door." 1 

Madame spent the night dissolved in tears, and these 
failing to relieve her outraged feelings, on the morrow 
she, as we have just seen, vented them upon her un- 
fortunate son's ear, in the presence of the whole Court. 
After which act of retribution, she appears to have become 
a trifle more resigned to the humiliation which, sie con- 
sidered, was being inflicted upon her. 

A few days later, the marriage-contract was signed in 
the King's cabinet, as was customary when menbers of 
the Royal Family or Princes of the Blood w&'e wed; 
and on Shrove Monday, February 18, 1692, the narriage 
was celebrated, with great pomp, in the ciapel at 
Versailles, the Cardinal de Bouillon officiating. At the 
conclusion of the ceremony, all the company dined in the 
grand salon, at a table of horse-shoe shape, the Princes 
and Princesses of the Blood being placed on the right 
and left of the King, according to their rani. In the 
afternoon, the exiled King and Queen of England arrived 
from Saint-Germain, with their little Court, and there 

1 Saint-Simon. 


was a grand concert, followed by the inevitable lansquenet 
and hombre. After supper, the bridal pair were escorted 
to the apartments of the new Duchesse de Chartres. 
The bridegroom's night-shirt was handed to him by 
James II., who had at first refused, on the plea that he 
was so unhappily circumstanced that he might bring ill- 
fortune to the young prince ; while Mary of Modena 
performed the same service for the bride. The benedic- 
tion of the nuptial couch was pronounced by the Cardinal 
de Bouillon, but not until he had kept every one waiting 
a quarter of an hour. His Eminence's conduct, we are 
told, occasioned much unfavourable comment, since he 
had but recently returned from a long period of exile, 
which he had brought upon himself by his audacity in 
refusing the nuptial blessing to Mile, de Nantes and the 
Due de Bourbon unless he were admitted to the royal 
banquet on the day of the marriage. 

Whatever were the disappointments of this union, 
which Madame declares, after the lapse of a quarter 
of a century, " had spoiled her whole life and destroyed 
her jovial temperament," unfruitfulness was certainly 
not among them, since between December, 1693, and 
June, 1716, the legitimated daughter of Louis XIV. bore 
her husband a son — Louis, Due de Chartres, and after- 
wards Due d' Orleans — and seven daughters, of whom 
all but the eldest lived to grow up. Here is the 

(1) Mile, de Valois, born December 17, 1693 ; died 

October 17, 1694. 

(2) Marie Louise Elisabeth, called at first Mile, de 

Chartres and, after the birth of her next sister, 
Mademoiselle ; born August 20, 1695. 


(3) Louise Adelaide, Mile, de Chartres, born August 13, 


(4) Charlotte Aglae, Mile, de Valois, born October 22, 


(5) Louise Elisabeth, Mile, de Montpensier, born 

December n, 1709. 

(6) Philippine-£lisabeth, Mile, de Beaujolais, born 

December 18, 1714. 

(7) Louise Diane, Mile, de Chartres, born June 28, 1716. 

Before, however, relating the history of these princesses, 
which forms the subject of the present volume, we must 
say something concerning their parents, upon whom 
rests the chief responsibility for the vices or eccentrici- 
ties which were to earn all but the two youngest so un- 
enviable a celebrity. 

Philippe d'Orleans, Due de Chartres and, after the 
death of his father in 1701, Due d'Orleans, the future 
Regent of France, was born at the Chateau of Saint- 
Cloud, on August 2, 1674. From his infancy he showed 
remarkable promise, but unhappily his good qualities 
were destined to be counterbalanced by the gravest 
faults. An ingenious story of Madame exactly depicts the 
character of her son. She said that all the fairies had been 
invited to be present at the young prince's birth ; that 
all had come, and that each had endowed him with some 
talent or good quality. As ill-luck would have it, how- 
ever, an old fairy had been forgotten, because it was 
believed that she had long since disappeared from this 
world. Irritated by the omission, she arrived at the 
moment when the last of her sisters had made her present, 
and avenged herself for the slight inflicted upon her by 


bestowing on the child the unfortunate defect of rendering 
absolutely useless all the gifts he had just received. 

Philippe d'Orleans, in fact, possessed of all the qualities 
required to form a great prince and to win the esteem and 
affection of the nation — brave, generous, amiable, kind- 
hearted, cultured, and intelligent— spoiled everything 
by his weakness and indecision of character, and by a 
debauchery which was regarded as singular even in an 
age which was remarkable for the laxity of its morals. 

In this respect the Due d'Orleans was not long in 
showing what he was one day to become. " He had," 
writes the historian of his amours, " one of those pre- 
cocious temperaments of which 

' La valeur n'attend le nombre des anne'es,' 1 
and for tutor the unprincipled Abbe Dubois, who, in order 
to ingratiate himself with his pupil, seems deliberately 
to have flattered his passions." 2 With such instincts 
and such a preceptor, it is scarcely a matter for surprise 
that the young prince should have arrived at the age of 
love almost as soon as he arrived at the age of reason. A 
complaisant lady " undertook to aid Nature and to 
teach him all that he had not divined." 3 " At the age 

1 Lescure, les Mattresses du Regent. 

2 If there were not already too many proofs of this, the evidence 
of the prince's mother would be in itself conclusive. " I at first thought 
well of the Abbe Dubois," writes Madame, under date November 8, 
1 719, " because I believed him to be sincerely attached to my son and 
that he sought in all things only his welfare and advantage ; but when 
I found out that he was a perfidious dog, who sought merely his own 
interests, and, quite forgetting my son's honour, precipitated him into 
eternal damnation, by permitting him to plunge into debauchery, all 
my esteem for this little priest changed into contempt. ... I have 
it, from my son himself, that, having one day, when quite alone, en- 
countered his pupil at the moment when the latter was about to enter 
a house of ill-lame, he merely laughed with him, instead of taking him 
by the arm and bringing him home." 

3 Lescure. 


of thirteen," says Madame, " my son was already a 
man; a lady of quality had instructed him." 1 The name 
of this dame de qualite, who had the distinction of heading 
the long list which contains those of women of every 
grade, has not been transmitted to posterity ; but, who- 
ever she may have been, her pupil profited so well by her 
instruction that before many months had elapsed his pre- 
cocious gallantry was already a topic of conversation. 
We read in that scandalous chronicle, the Memoires de 
Maurepas : 

" His first mistress was the little Leonore, daughter 
of the concierge of the store-room at the Palais-Royal. 
At the age of fourteen, he had a child by her, which 
caused a great deal of talk. Monsieur was very much 
annoyed about it ; Madame was not displeased, and even 
took great care of both mother and child. This girl was 
afterwards married to M. de Charency, son of a counsellor 
at Riom." 

Dissolute as he was, Philippe d'Orleans was no cor- 
rupter of innocence, no destroyer of domestic felicity. 
Several of his mistresses, notably Charlotte Desmares 
and Mile. Florence, were actresses, and at the beginning 
of the eighteenth century, and, indeed, until very much 
later times, a chaste daughter of Thespis was regarded 
as a kind of phenomenon. As to those of more exalted 
station, Madame d'Argenton, far from being deprived 
of a husband, received one almost from his hand ; Madame 
de Parabere was the widow of a worthless creature, to 
whom it is doubtful if she had troubled to remain faith- 
ful ; Madame de Sabran called her husband " her mastiff," 

1 Correspondance complete de Madame, Duckesse d'OrUans, 
Letter of June 15, 1719. 

PuiLii'i'y. ami du vrqi-J^ttit-.cJw^hti i/r/t/ ./,w/r ■ 

UL'n- critique i/ui,nit ,'V irn.i L- fran-ctsut- 

Un I'riiur Jaiu "JifiuttJ tu - cruint point Li .<a/y/r 

Philippe II. . Due d'Orleans, Regent of France 

From an engraving by Francois Chereau, after the painting by 

J. B. Santerre 


and " he was only too happy to gnaw the bones of her 
lucrative infidelities " -, 1 Madame d'Averne sold herself, 
with the full approval of her consort, who took good care 
that the bargain should be a profitable one from his 
point of view ; 2 while Madame de Phalaris was married 
to a man who neglected and ill-treated her, and was 
probably as thankful to be rid of her as she was to be 
rid of him. 

And, to his credit, it should be recorded here, that, when 
he became Regent, he kept his mistresses himself ; he did 
not make France keep them. As disinterested as he was 
prodigal, his accounts show that he did not even touch 
the salary attached to his exalted office. During the 
eight years that he exercised supreme power in the name 
of the little Louis XV., he had the opportunity of amassing 
a great fortune. He died in debt. 

Nor did he permit his mistresses the least vestige of 
political influence. He declared that he detested women 
of gallantry who were at the same time women of affairs, 
and those who flattered themselves that they might 
transform a rendezvous into a sort of audience within 
the bed-curtains were speedily undeceived. Once, when 
importuned by questions on some matter of public 
importance by an indiscreet beauty, he caught up a 
mirror, held it towards her, and observed : " These are 
questions which ill become so beautiful a mouth." He 
did not, however, always choose to signify his displeasure 
in so gallant a fashion ; and that notorious intrigante, 
Madame de Tencin, found herself ignominiously dis- 

1 Lescure. 

2 On the beginning of the liaison between the Due d'Orldans and 
Madame d'Averne, see the author's The Fascinating Due de Richelieu 
(London, Methuen ; New York, Scribner, 1910). 


carded for having presumed to offer him advice at a 
moment when he demanded only affection. 

It was the same with his " roues " x as with his mistresses. 
They enjoyed much favour, but they possessed no in- 
fluence. The duke would drink and jest and gamble with 
them, but he would not discuss politics. He would 
pardon them every sin in the Decalogue, but he would 
not pardon them ambition. The most favoured of them 
all, the Comte de Noce, once ventured in public on a 
bon-mot against Dubois, then Prime Minister. He was 
promptly exiled. 

The observations concerning the Due d'Orl^ans which 
we find scattered throughout Madame 's letters are ex- 
tremely interesting and valuable, for, notwithstanding 
that she was warmly attached to them, no woman was 
ever less blind to the faults of her children. Here are a 
few : 

" My son is not handsome ; he has full cheeks ; he 
is short and stout, and his face is very red ; but it seems 
to me that he is not unattractive. When he dances or 
is on horseback, he looks very well, but, when he is 
walking, he does not appear to advantage." 

" Between ourselves, my son is not a man a la mode, 
but a veritable fool where women are concerned. He 
reminds me of the old patriarchs. My son has much 
of King David about him ; he has courage and intelli- 
gence ; he is musical, short in stature, honest, and he 
passes the night willingly with all kinds of women. Pro- 
vided that they are good-humoured, quite shameless, 

1 The term " roue " (one deserving to be broken on the wheel), was, 
we need hardly observe, invented by Philippe d'Orleans to describe 
his debauched companions. 


and that they are able to consume plenty of food and 
drink, he cares little whether they are pretty or not." 

" My son is eloquent, good-natured, and light-hearted." 

" My son is eloquent, and, when he wishes, he speaks 
very impressively." 

" My son is on very good terms with me ; he shows 
me much affection and would be in despair if he lost me. 
His visits rejoice my heart : he always tells me something 
amusing which makes me laugh. He is witty, and his 
conversation is very agreeable. I should be an unnatural 
mother if I did not love him from the bottom of my 
heart." 1 

Voltaire compares him to his great ancestor Henri of 
Navarre, of which resemblance the duke was always 
very vain. " Of all the descendants of Henri IV," he 
writes, " Philippe d' Orleans was the one who resembled 
him the most. He had his valour, his kindness, his in- 
dulgence, his gaiety, his facility of speech, his frankness, 
with a more cultured mind. His countenance, incom- 
parably more gracious, was, however, that of Henri IV. 
Sometimes it pleased him to put on a ruff, and then he was 
Henri IV. beautified." 2 

Saint-Simon, who, it should be remembered, was on 
terms of the closest friendship with the duke, has devoted 
to him one of his most arresting portraits : 

" The Due d' Orleans," he writes, " was, at the most, 
of mediocre stature, full-bodied, without being stout ; his 
manner and bearing were very easy and very noble ; 
his face was full and very agreeable ; his hair was black, 
and he wore a black wig. Although he danced very 

1 Correspondancc complete, passim. 

3 Steele de Louis XV. Cf. Saint-Simon, p. 16, infra. 


badly, and had succeeded but ill at the riding-school, 1 
he had in his countenance, in his gestures, and in all 
his movements, infinite grace, and so natural that it 
adorned even his most ordinary and commonplace 
actions. With much ease, when nothing constrained him, 
he was gentle, affable, frank, of easy and charming 
access. The tone of his voice was agreeable, and he 
spoke with astonishing fluency on all kinds of subjects. 
His eloquence was natural and extended to the most 
ordinary and everyday discourse ; while it equally 
entered into his observations upon the most abstract 
sciences, upon which he talked most informingly ; upon 
the affairs of government, finance, politics, justice, war, 
the Court, general conversation, the arts and mechanics. 
. . . With all this, he had no presumption, no trace of 
superiority, natural or acquired. He reasoned with you 
as with an equal, and astonished even the most able men. 
Although he never forgot his position, or allowed others 
to forget it, he carried no constraint with him, but put 
everybody at his ease, and placed himself upon the level 
of others. 

" He had the weakness to believe that he resembled 
Henri IV. in everything, and strove to affect the manners, 
the gestures, and the bearing of that monarch. Like 
Henri IV., he was naturally kind, humane, compassionate; 
and, indeed, this man, who has been so cruelly accused of 
the blackest and most inhuman crimes, was more opposed 
to the destruction of others than any man I have ever 
known, and had such a singular dislike to causing any 
one pain that it may be said his gentleness, his humanity, 
his easiness, had become faults ; and I do not hesitate to 

1 This, singularly enough, is the exact opposite of what Madame says. 


affirm that the supreme virtue which teaches us to pardon 
our enemies he converted into a vice, by the indiscriminate 
freedom with which he applied it. 

" Of ambition for reigning or governing he had none. 
If he made a false move in Spain, l it was because he had 
been misdirected. What he would have liked best, would 
have been to command armies while war lasted, and 
divert himself the rest of the time without constraint to 
himself or others. He was, in fact, very suited for this, 
for with much valour he combined foresight, judgment, 
coolness, and great capacity." 

Saint-Simon then proceeds to show us the other side of 
the picture, which, notwithstanding its lurid colouring, 
is probably a faithful enough representation. 

He attributes all the faults and vices of his royal friend 
to the " execrable poison " administered to him in his 
youth by that " wizened, herring-gutted, weazel-faced 
scamp " Dubois, at whose head he hurls almost every 
opprobious epithet in his rich vocabulary. " Dubois," 
he says, " led him into debauchery, made him despise all 
duty and all decency, and persuaded him that he had 
too much intelligence to be the dupe of religion, which, 
he said, was a politic invention to frighten ordinary 
intellects, and to keep the people in subjection. He 
imbued him, too, with his favourite principle, that 

1 At the conclusion of the campaign of 1708 in Spain, during which 
he had taken Alicante and Tortosa, the Due d'Orleans was recalled to 
France, under the suspicion, which appears justified, that he had made 
overtures to the English generals, with the view of ascertaining whether 
their Government would favour the substitution of himself for the 
feeble Philip V. The rumour ran that he was to be brought to trial, 
but Louis XIV. did not wish to transform a troublesome intrigue into 
a State crime, and took care to deny it. Nevertheless, during the re- 
mainder of the old King's life the Due d'Orleans remained in a kind of 


probity in man and virtue in woman are mere chimeras, 
without existence in anybody save a few poor slaves of 
early training. This was the basis of the worthy ecclesi- 
astic's doctrines, whence arose the licence of falsehood, 
deceit, artifice, infidelity, perfidy ; in a word, every 
villainy and every crime were transformed into policy, 
capacity, greatness, liberty, and depth of intellect, 
enlightenment, good conduct, provided it could be hidden, 
and if suspicion could be avoided." 

The chronicler goes on to tell us that the prince grew so 
accustomed to riotous living that he was unable to do 
without it, and " could only divert himself by dint of 
noise, tumult, and excess. It is this which led him into 
such strange and such scandalous debauches, and, since 
he wished to surpass all his companions, to mingle with 
his parties of pleasure the most impious discourses, and, 
as a precious refinement, to hold the most outrageous 
orgies on the most holy days, as he did several times 
during his regency, on Good Friday, by choice, and on 
other similar days. The more debauched a man was the 
more he esteemed him ; and I have over and over again 
known him to express the most intense admiration for 
the Grand Prior, 1 because for forty years he had always 
gone to bed drunk, and had never ceased to keep mis- 
tresses in the most public manner, and to hold the most 
impious and irreligious discourses. With these principles, 
and the conduct which was the outcome of them, it is not 
surprising that the Due d'Orleans was deceitful to such 
an extent that he boasted of it, and plumed himself upon 

1 Philippe de Vendome, Grand Prior of France (1655-1727). He 
was the younger brother of Louis, Due de Vendome, the celebrated 


being the most skilful deceiver in the world. ... So many 
were the engagements which he broke that no value 
was attached even to the most positive. He was no 
longer believed, even when he spoke in all good faith. 
To conclude, the obscure, and for the most part black- 
guard, company which he ordinarily affected in his 
debauches, and which he did not scruple publicly to call 
his ' roues' drove away all decent people, and did him 
an infinitude of harm." 

The Due d'Orleans might have been a better man if he 
had had a different kind of wife, but unhappily it was his 
misfortune to be married to a woman so entirely selfish 
that she was incapable of exercising the least influence 
for good over either her husband or her children. 

Francoise Marie de Bourbon, Duchesse d'Orleans, was 
the youngest of the four daughters whom Madame de 
Montespan had presented to Louis XIV., and therefore 
sister to the Duchesse de Bourbon {Madame la Duchesse), 
the Due du Maine, and the Comte de Toulouse, and half- 
sister to the widowed Princesse de Conti. She was born 
on May 25, 1677, and was the first-fruits of the recon- 
ciliation between her mother and the King which had 
followed the brief rupture effected by the eloquent re- 
monstrances of Bossuet, which caused Madame de Caylus 
to write, with obvious malice : "It seems to me that one 
can still detect in the character, the physiognomy, and 
the whole person of the Duchesse d'Orleans traces of this 
combat between love and religion." 1 

In appearance, the duchess was " tall and in every 

1 Souvenirs et Correspondance de Madame de Caylus. For a full 
account of this episode, see the author's Madame de Montespan (London, 
Harper; New York, Scribner, 1903). 


way majestic ; her complexion, her throat, her arms, 
were admirable ; she had a tolerable mouth, with beautiful 
teeth, somewhat long ; and cheeks too broad and too 
pendant, which interfered with, but did not spoil her 
beauty. What disfigured her the most were her eyebrows, 
which were, so to speak, peeled and red, with very little 
hair ; she had, however, fine eyelashes, with well-set, 
chestnut-coloured hair. Without being humpbacked or 
deformed, she had one side larger than the other, which 
caused her to walk awry ; and this defect in her figure 
indicated another, which was more troublesome in society 
and which inconvenienced herself." 1 

Though not so gifted as her elder sister, Madame la 
Duchesse, her abilities were, nevertheless, considerable, 
and she shone greatly in conversation, " having a just- 
ness of expression, and a fluency and singularity in the 
choice of language, which always astonished one, together 
with that manner peculiar to Madame de Montespan and 
her sisters, which was transmitted to none save those 
intimate with her or those whom she had brought up." 2 
She laboured under the disadvantage of an embarrassed 
and indistinct utterance, so that it was not altogether easy 
for unaccustomed ears to follow what she said, but very 
soon people became used to this and were charmed by her 
clever and witty talk. 

The duchess, however, was far too indolent to employ 
her intelligence except in conversation ; indeed, she 
appears to have been one of the most indolent women of 
her time. " One has never heard of such laziness," writes 
her disgusted mother-in-law. " She has had a couch 
made on which she reclines when she plays lansquenet ; 
1 Saint-Simon. * Ibid. 

Francoise Marie de Bourbon (Mlle. de Blois), Duchesse d'Orle vns 
From the painting by Largilliere, at Versailles 

(Photo by \V. A. Mansell & Co.) 


we make game of her, but that has no effect. She gambles 
lying down ; she takes her meals lying down ; she reads 
lying down ; in a word, almost all her life is passed lying 
down. This must be bad for her health ; indeed, she is 
almost always ailing. One day, she complains of her 
head ; another day, of her digestion. It would seem that, 
leading such a life, she could not have robust children ; 
nevertheless, her three elder daughters are strong and in 
very good health." 1 

The one thing capable of surmounting this extraordinary 
indolence — which grew upon her steadily and prevented 
her from performing a mother's duty towards her numer- 
ous family — and of stimulating her to some degree of 
energy and activity, was her pride. This, we are told, was 
" almost Satanic." As the daughter of Louis XIV., she 
considered herself superior to all the princesses, and could 
never bring herself to admit the inferiority which her 
illegitimate birth inflicted upon her ; indeed, she was of 
opinion that she had much honoured the Due d'Orleans 
in marrying him ! Duclos says that people jocosely com- 
pared her to Minerva, who, recognising no mother, prided 
herself on being the daughter of Jupiter. 2 

Although she had no love for the husband whom Louis 
XIV. had chosen for her, her vanity was wounded by his 
conduct, since " she would have liked to have been loved 
and served by him as a goddess." She did not, however, 
make the slightest effort to gain his affection, pretending 
that, being so much above him, to do so would be to 
degrade herself ; nor was she even willing to renounce 

1 Correspondence complete. Letter of April 17, 1718. 

* Memoires secrets pour servir a I'Histoire de Louis XIV., etc. The 
letters of legitimation of the children of Madame de Montespan did not 
mention the name of the mother. 


what she knew was displeasing to him. * This was the more 
unfortunate, since the Due d'Orleans was fond of his wife, 
as, Madame tells us, he was of all women with whom he 
was on terms of intimacy. But she was always so cold 
and ungracious towards him, and gave herself such absurd 
airs of superiority, that he soon ceased to spend much of 
his time in her company, and " plumed himself," says 
Saint-Simon, " on carrying his licentious conduct to 
the farthest limits, in order to show the contempt which 
he felt for his consort." This, however, would appear to 
have been during the earlier part of their married life, 
for in later years this singular couple, coming to 
understand one another better, lived on tolerably good 
terms ; the duchess permitted her husband to go his 
own way without remonstrance, and the duke, in return, 
endeavoured to respect outward appearances as much as 
possible. " Monsieur," said he on one occasion to the 
Prince de Conti, who had conducted himself after an 
evening of revelry with too little dignity, " I recollect read- 
ing, by chance, in some book that, when a man is drunk, 
he ought to go to bed without saying anything to his wife. 
As for myself, when I am in that condition, which happens 
pretty frequently, I take good care not to tell the Duchesse 
d'Orleans, nor to let her find it out. I do it on the sly." 
Too indolent to perform the most ordinary duties of a 
mother towards her children, or to occupy herself with 
the interests of her husband, to whose dissipated life she 

1 With all her haughtiness, however, she was timidity itself in the 
presence of her royal father, and also of Madame de Maintenon, who 
had brought her up. " The King," writes Saint-Simon, " could make 
her swoon by a single severe look, and Madame de Maintenon, too, 
perhaps ; at all events, she trembled before her, and in public she 
never replied to them without stammering and looking frightened. 
I say, replied, since to address the King first was beyond her strength." 


appeared to be profoundly indifferent, the duchess, as we 
shall presently see, was capable of plenty of energy if her 
pride was touched, or if any question arose which con- 
cerned her elder brother, the Due du Maine, to whom she 
was devotedly attached. For this prince she cheerfully 
endured every kind of trouble and fatigue, and, in the 
campaign against the legitimated princes at the beginning 
of the Regency, she espoused his cause with the most 
passionate enthusiasm. This devotion, however, was not 
perhaps wholly disinterested, for, if the Due du Maine 
had become all-powerful, she would undoubtedly have 
enjoyed far more influence than her husband ever per- 
mitted her. The duchess was also attached, though in a 
much less degree, to her younger brother, the Comte de 
Toulouse ; but there was little love lost between her and 
her sister and half-sister, Madame la Duchesse and the 
widowed Princesse de Conti ; indeed, during the lifetime of 
Louis XIV., their quarrels were so frequent that the King 
was obliged to threaten them with banishment from Court, 
if they could not contrive to compose their differences.. - 
It was her fancy to surround herself with a Court, 
where a sort of cult appears to have been professed for 
her. She preferred to bestow her favour upon humble 
and servile persons, rather than upon those who showed 
any independence of character, and her waiting-women, 
who were ready to flatter her to the top of her bent, had 
great influence over her. " She prefers the company of 
waiting- women to those of persons of consideration," 
writes Madame. " Sometimes a whole week passes with- 
out her seeing any of her ladies-in-waiting, who dare not 
present themselves before her, unless they are sent for." 1 

1 Correspovdance complete, Letter of March 31, 17 19. 


However, she had sufficient good sense to select as her 
most intimate friend and confidante, her cousin, the 
Duchesse Sforza, 1 an excellent woman, intelligent, 
prudent and virtuous, whose counsels served to counter- 
act to some degree the influence of certain dangerous 
intriguers, such as the Due and Duchesse de Saint- 
Pierre, who, by extravagant professions of devotion, had 
succeeded in wheedling their way into important posts 
in the princess's Household. 

This establishment was on quite an imposing footing, 
and the Duchesse d'Orleans aspired to exercise a verit- 
able despotism over its members, and even to regulate 
their domestic affairs. Saint-Simon relates an instance 
of this. She had for her dame d'atours the Comtesse de 
Castries, daughter of the Due de Vivonne, brother of 
Madame de Montespan and, therefore, like the Duchesse 
Sforza, her cousin-germaine ; and for chevalier d'honneur 
that lady's husband. Now, in the case of the Duchesse 
Sforza, the wife of a member of a princely Italian House, 
her Royal Highness had condescended to acknowledge 
the relationship ; but the Castries, being comparatively 
humble people, she thought fit to ignore it, nor did they, 
although on terms of some familiarity with their mis- 
tress, ever venture to remind her of it. In course of time 
it happened that ML and Madame de Castries, who 
possessed but a moderate fortune, arranged what they 
considered to be a very satisfactory marriage for their 

1 She was the younger daughter of Madame de Montespan's elder 
sister, the Duchesse de Thianges, and sister of the beautiful Duchesse 
de Nevers, upon whom Louis XIV. had for a brief moment cast a rather 
more than friendly eye. Madame de Caylus describes her as " having 
a white skin, rather fine eyes, and a nose pendant over a very red 
mouth, which made M. de Vendome say that she resembled a paroquet 
eating a cherry." 


only son, the lady being a certain Mile. Nolent, daughter 
of a wealthy councillor of the Parlement of Paris ; but, 
before definitely concluding the affair, they judged it 
advisable, as members of her Household, to go through 
the form of consulting the Duchesse d'Orleans. To their 
profound astonishment, on learning of the proposed mar- 
riage, the duchess all of a sudden recollected that Madame 
de Castries was her cousin, and declared that an alliance 
between her son and the daughter of a bourgeois family 
was entirely out of the question. It was not that she had 
another marriage to propose for the young man, still less 
a more advantageous one ; but she made so great a pother 
that the Castries, fearful of offending her, dared not pro- 
ceed with the affair. The marriage was not abandoned, 
however, since it was greatly desired by all the parties 
concerned ; and at the end of six months the Duchesse 
d'Orleans's brothers, the Due du Maine and the Comte de 
Toulouse, good-naturedly intervened and obtained the 
raising of the interdict ; and it was duly concluded. The 
haughty princess, however, could never be persuaded to 
treat the young Madame de Castries otherwise than with 
the coldest disdain, and the poor girl scarcely dared to 
present herself before her ; while the tardily-acknow- 
ledged cousin and the Comte de Castries remained in a 
sort of semi-disgrace, until death removed both the 
innocent cause of offence and her husband within a few 
days of one another. 

Like her husband, the Duchesse d'Orleans was exceed- 
ingly deceitful, but, whereas the duke practised dissimula- 
tion as a matter of policy, his wife was naturally false. 
Thus, she affected great respect and even affection for 
her mother-in-law, and overwhelmed her with compli- 


ments and attentions whenever she saw her, although 
she disliked the old princess heartily, and in secret never 
lost an opportunity of doing her an ill-turn. Madame, 
who was far too shrewd a judge of character to be deceived 
by such professions, returned the hostile sentiments 
which she knew the duchess entertained for her with 
interest ; indeed, the latter appears to have inspired her 
with a veritable antipathy, and her correspondence 
abounds in caustic comments upon her daughter-in-law's 
character and mode of life. Her statements, however, 
must be accepted with considerable reserve, for, when 
Madame was writing about persons who had been so 
unfortunate as to incur her displeasure, she was inclined 
to allow her pen to run away with her. 

" My daughter-in-law is a disagreeable and worth- 
less creature," she writes, under date October 10, 1693. 
" She does not trouble about my son, and despises 
Monseigneur. . . . She does not occupy herself with any- 
thing, but passes her life, in my opinion, in a frightful 
indifference. . . . Her arrogance and ill-humour are in- 
supportable, and her countenance is extremely displeasing. 
She is quite crooked, and has a horrible pronunciation, 
as though her mouth were always full of pap, and a head 
which wags unceasingly. Such is the present which la 
vieille ordure [Madame de Maintenon] has given us. You 
can imagine if one ought to lead an agreeable life with 
her. But birth takes the place of everything and supplies 
the qualities which are lacking. She torments her hus- 
band greatly, and the poor lad repents bitterly of having 
committed this folly and of having refused to believe me." 

When, however, a few years later, the Due and Duchesse 
d'Orleans had decided to make the best of their bar- 


gain, and had, in consequence, begun to live on tolerably 
amicable terms, Madame was still more displeased ; and 
there can be very little doubt that the old lady infinitely 
preferred to see the Palais-Royal menage at variance than 
comparatively united, and that she employed her in- 
fluence with her son to indispose him against his wife. 
' My son," she writes, " has, where his wife is concerned, 
a blindness which seems incredible, when one knows how 
little she troubles about him. He is intelligent and yet 
he does not see what is going on. Provided that she does 
not object to his going constantly to Paris, and leading a 
disorderly life there, he is satisfied with her." 1 

Not content with accusing her detested daughter-in- 
law of indolence, vanity, ill-temper, arrogance, deceit, 
and gluttony, and with " getting as drunk as a currier 
three times a week," Madame charges her with unfaith- 
fulness to her husband : " Despite all her gravity, she is 
never without affairs. One ought, however, to render her 
this justice, that she conducts herself very well in this 
respect, and will never give cause for scandal. All Paris 
believes her a vestal ; but I, who see things from close at 
hand, I know well what is going on. I counsel my son 
always to live on very good terms with her ; for what 
purpose would a rupture serve ? The King would take 
his daughter's part, and, notwithstanding the scandal, 
my son would be obliged to keep her. It is therefore better 
to close the eyes and to live amicably together." 2 

This last charge against the Duchesse d'Orleans lacks 
confirmation, and we ought to hesitate to accept the 
testimony of a writer who was only too ready to believe 

1 Lettres inidites de la Princesse Palatine, publiees par M. A. Rolland, 
Letter of April 19, 1701. 

* Ibid. Letter of May 21, 1712. 


anything to the detriment of those whom she disliked. 
But Madame is on much surer ground when she reproaches 
her daughter-in-law with the most deplorable indifference 
to her maternal duties. " The mother brings up her 
children in a fashion which is an object of derision and 
of scandal," she writes. " It is necessary for me to assist 
at that daily, and all that I can say is perfectly useless." 
The Duchesse d'Orleans, in fact, had little affection for 
her offspring, and had not the smallest intention of 
abandoning her indolent and selfish habits in order to 
superintend their education. She infinitely preferred to 
spend her days gracefully reclining on her luxurious couch 
in a becoming peignoir, listening to the tittle-tattle of her 
waiting-women, reading or — since that generally entailed 
too much exertion — having read to her, fashionable 
romances, or playing cards with the Duchesse Sforza, to 
having her children around her, interesting herself in 
their studies and amusements, hearing the reports of 
tutors and gouvemantes, and deciding with them the 
measures to be adopted. Occupations of this kind might 
be all very well for ordinary mothers, but were really 
too fatiguing for great princesses, particularly when they 
happened to be, like herself, in delicate health; and, if 
she had been allowed to have her way, she would have 
made nuns of all her daughters. " It would seem," 
writes £douard de Barthelemy, " as though she considered 
that she had taken sufficient trouble in bringing her 
daughters into the world, and that they had no further 
claim upon her." 1 

Such were the parents of the bevy of princesses whose 
history we shall now relate. 


1 Eclouard de Barthelemy, les Filles du Regent. 


The Orleans princesses — Their neglected childhood — Serious illness of 
Mademoiselle, whose life is saved by her father's care — Singular 
affection of the Due d'Orleans for his eldest daughter — Unsuccess- 
ful endeavour of the Duchesse d'Orleans to obtain precedence for 
her children over the Princes and Princesses of the Blood — She 
determines to marry Mademoiselle to the Due de Berry, youngest 
son of the Dauphin— Diplomatic move of the young princess — 
Obstacles in the way of the proposed marriage — Intrigues of Saint- 
Simon and the Duchesse de Bourgogne on behalf of Mademoiselle — 
Louis XIV. decides in favour of that princess and obliges the 
Dauphin to consent to the marriage — The Due de Berry — Anecdotes 
of his boyhood — His appearance and character — Visit of Mademoi- 
selle to Versailles — A singular imbroglio — Marriage of the Due de 
Berry and Made mo iselle— Early years of Miles, de Chartres and de 
Valois, second and third daughters of the Due and Duchesse 
d'Orleans — The two little princesses are sent to the Abbey of Chelles. 

A REFERENCE to the list given in the preceding 
chapter will show that the six daughters of the 
Due and Duchesse d'Orleans may be divided into two 
series, since only five years separate the eldest, Made- 
moiselle, from her third sister, Mile, de Valois ; while 
more than nine intervene between the birth of Mile, de 
Valois, in the last year of the seventeenth century, and 
that of Mile, de Montpensier, in 1709. The three first, 
therefore, were already finishing their education when 
their younger sisters came into the world. 

Little information is to be gleaned from the memoirs 
and correspondence of the time concerning the early 
years of any of these princesses. But that little is enough 
to show that they passed a strange childhood, between a 




vain and selfish mother, who cared nothing for them, and 
was not ashamed to let it be seen that she regarded them 
as " encumbrances " ; a dissipated father, who loved them, 
it is true, but who knew no other way of showing his 
affection than by spoiling and amusing himself with 
them, and a grandmother, kindly and well-meaning, but 
jealous and vindictive, who was far more ready to criticise 
the education they were receiving than to attempt to 
remedy its defects, and whose chief object seems to have 
been to monopolise their childish affections to the detri- 
ment of their parents. 

And so they grew up, unsurrounded by any serious 
affection and without any proper control being exercised 
over them, allowed to quarrel with one another un- 
rebuked, and to follow each her own particular inclina- 
tions. For those who were placed in charge of them, as 
is very frequently the case, finding the Due and Duchesse 
d' Orleans too absorbed in their own affairs to interest 
themselves in the education of their daughters, seem to 
have made no effort to check the faults of the latter, 
so long as these did not happen to interfere with their 
own ease and comfort. We shall soon see the consequences 
of this deplorable apathy. 

It is, however, only just to the Due and Duchesse 
d'Orleans to observe that, if they were indifferent to 
the moral welfare of their children, they were not in- 
different to their bodily health. Thus, in the autumn 
of 1706, when Mademoiselle was attacked by small- 
pox, the duchess became, for the moment, a true mother, 
shutting herself up with the sick child and assisting to 
nurse her ; while, some years earlier, the same little 
princess had undoubtedly owed her life to her father's 


care, although most people will be of opinion that it 
would have been infinitely better for the reputation of 
both if Death had not been cheated of his prey. 

In the early summer of 1701, when Mademoiselle was 
not quite six years old, she fell ill, at Saint-Cloud, of a 
malady the nature of which seems to have puzzled com- 
pletely the doctors who attended her, and her condition 
speedily became so alarming that all hope was abandoned, 
and " for six hours she was believed to be dead." 1 It 
was then that her father, who was an enthusiastic student 
of chemistry — an enthusiasm which was to be largely 
responsible for the terrible suspicions concerning him at 
the time of the successive deaths of the Due and Duchesse 
de Bourgogne and their infant son, the Due de Bretagne, 
eleven years later — undertook to cure her, and, to the 
general astonishment and the chagrin of the physicians, 
was successful. From that moment dates the singular 
affection of Philippe d'Orleans for his eldest daughter, 
which, degenerating as time went on and the girl grew 
more attractive, into the most fatal weakness and in- 
dulgence, was to exercise so pernicious an influence upon 
her character, and to be interpreted so odiously. 

When Mademoiselle was ten years old, she was honoured, 
one evening at Versailles, by an invitation to sup at the 
King's table, and to follow him into his cabinet after- 
wards. In a Court where the least details of etiquette 
were regarded as of more importance than the fate of 
empires, this incident provoked the liveliest discussion, 
since the Princesses of the Blood were not ordinarily 
admitted to his Majesty's table, save on the occasion of 
some great ceremony. It would appear that the Duchesse 

1 Journal de Dangeau, June 2S, 1701. 


d'Orleans was so puffed up with vanity at the honour 
conferred upon her daughter, that Louis XIV. was 
obliged to intimate to her that it was merely a passing 
favour, and must in no wise be interpreted as giving her 
precedence over the other Princesses of the Blood. 

To secure this precedence for her children was one of 
the most cherished ambitions of the duchess, and she 
prosecuted it with an energy and a tenacity of purpose 
really astonishing in a woman of her indolent tempera- 
ment. But, as we have said, when a question arose which 
touched her pride, she invariably shook off her habitual 
lethargy and became another person altogether. It had 
long been a source of the keenest mortification to her 
that, although she had the rank of a " granddaughter of 
France," her children, while taking precedence of the 
children of the Princes of the Blood, should be obliged to 
yield the pas to the Princes themselves and to their wives 
and widows. But, since a direct attack upon so long- 
established a custom offered little promise of success, 
she determined, towards the end of 1709, to endeavour, 
so to speak, to turn the position by inventing the title of 
" great-grandson and great-granddaughters of France." 
This project at first met with scant encouragement from 
her husband, but the duchess was not disheartened, and 
at length persuaded him to give it his support. 

The little Due de Chartres, who was barely six years of 
age, was, of course, too young to be made the instrument 
of his ambitious mother ; but Mademoiselle was now in 
her fifteenth year, and, thanks to her unfortunate educa- 
tion and the fatal indulgence of her father, already 
possessed the most exalted idea of her own importance. 
She lived at the Palais-Royal, surrounded, like her 


mother, by a sort of little Court of sycophantic ladies, 
who vied with one another in flattering and spoiling her, 
and was " haughty and absolute in regard to all things 
that she desired." Soon the persistent manner in which 
the Duchesse d'Orleans kept her eldest daughter aloof 
from Court ceremonies began to arouse suspicion ; and 
all doubt as to that lady's pretensions was dispelled 
when it was known that Mademoiselle had refused her 
signature to a marriage-contract, because her mother 
did not wish her to sign her name after the Princes of the 

This affair, we are assured, created a great sensation ; 
the Princes and Princesses of the Blood were furiously 
indignant, and Madame la Duchesse expressed her opinion 
to her sister in terms more forcible than courteous. 
The latter, undismayed by the storm which she had 
provoked, stood her ground firmly, and for several 
months the Court was divided into rival camps, since 
Louis XIV., always very slow in coming to a decision, 
particularly on questions of etiquette, hesitated to make 
a pronouncement. At length, however, after the sudden 
death of Monsieur le Due, at the beginning of March 
1710, the King, at the request of the Due d'Orleans, who 
represented to him the necessity, in the circumstances, 
of putting an end to the quarrel between the widowed 
duchess and her sister, gave his decision against the 
pretensions of the latter. 

The Duchesse d'Orleans took this defeat so much to 
heart that, as soon as it was announced to her, she shut 
herself up in her own apartments, on the plea of indis- 
position, and refused to see any one with the exception 
of Mademoiselle. On the morrow, powerless to dissimu- 



late the mortification she felt at the triumph of Madame 
la Duchesse, and what she was pleased to consider the 
affront which had been inflicted upon her, she quitted 
Versailles for Saint-Cloud, and, notwithstanding the 
representations of her husband, declined to allow Made- 
moiselle to appear at any of the Lenten services which 
the King attended, because at these the Princesses were 
placed according to their rank. 

From Saint-Cloud, the duchess proceeded to the 
Palais-Royal, whither the duke followed her, in the 
hope of inducing her to return to Court ; but, though 
Saint-Simon added his persuasions to his, she remained 
inflexible. Her obstinacy was the more surprising, since, 
on learning of the King's decision, she had announced 
her intention of moving heaven and earth to bring about 
the marriage of Mademoiselle to the Due de Berry, the 
youngest son of the Dauphin and brother of the Due de 
Bourgogne and Philip V. of Spain, in order to secure for 
her daughter by this means the honours she was unable to 
obtain otherwise, and had drafted a letter to Madame de 
Maintenon, soliciting her support for this project. Saint- 
Simon did not fail to represent to her that the unfortunate 
impression which her absence from Court, and of Made- 
moiselle from the Lenten services, could not fail to 
create in the King's mind must seriously compromise the 
chances of the marriage she desired ; but all to no purpose. 
" She listened to all I had to say," he writes, " thanked 
me coldly, and, with a vexation tempered by courtesy, 
informed me that it would not shake her resolution." 

Meanwhile, Louis XIV. had manifested his displeasure 
at the conduct of the duchess and her daughter in so 
unmistakable a manner, that the Duchesse de Bourgogne, 


who, as we shall presently see, had private reasons of 
her own for desiring the marriage of Mademoiselle and 
the Due de Berry, resolved to intervene. She accord- 
ingly sent for the young princess, pointed out to her, 
" with the kindness of a mother," what would be the 
inevitable consequence of the obstinacy of the Duchesse 
d'Orleans, and implored her to appear at one service at 
least before Easter. Mademoiselle, whose precocious 
vanity was flattered by the hope of an alliance which 
would make her the first lady in the land after the 
Duchesse de Bourgogne herself, and even invest her with 
eventual rights to the Crown matrimonial, appreciated 
the wisdom of this advice, and, since she had no affec- 
tion for her mother, and was aware that her father 
strongly disapproved of the latter's conduct and that 
she could count on his support, promised to follow it. 
A day or two later, accordingly, she went to the chapel 
of Versailles, and took her place among the Princesses of 
the Blood, as though nothing had happened. 

There can be no doubt that the Due d'Orleans both 
knew and approved of his favourite daughter's action ; 
but it came as a complete surprise to the duchess, who 
was so enraged that, according to Saint-Simon, " she did 
not cease to weep the entire day." Eventually, however, 
she was obliged to recognise that Mademoiselle, in bow- 
ing to the King's decision, even in defiance of her in- 
junctions, had done very wisely, and raised no further 
objection to her daughter taking the place his Majesty 
had assigned her. Thus, the situation was saved, and 
the chances of the marriage, which for the moment had 
seemed hopelessly compromised, re-established. 

These chances, however, had never been such as to 


justify any very confident hopes of success ; indeed, the 
obstacles which presented themselves were of the most 
formidable nature. 

It was well known that Louis XIV. was anxious for 
the marriage of the Due de Berry, who was now twenty- 
three years of age, and had begun to take so much 
pleasure in feminine society that his Majesty feared that, 
if he did not speedily provide him with a wife, he might 
engage in some liaison from which it would be difficult 
to detach him, or possibly follow his own and Mon- 
seigneur's example and contract a morganatic union. 1 
It was also true that, since France was at war with the 
chief Catholic States of Europe, with the exception of 
Spain and Bavaria, where there were no princesses of 
marriageable age, a foreign alliance was out of the 
question, and that he must perforce wed a French 
princess, that is to say, either Mademoiselle or Mile, de 
Bourbon, eldest daughter of Madame la Duchesse, 2 
since they were the only princesses of marriageable 

Well, in ordinary circumstances, the fact that Made- 
moiselle was the daughter of the head of the younger 
branch of the Royal Family, while her cousin was only 
the daughter of the First Prince of the Blood, would have 
been generally regarded as sufficient to entitle her to the 
preference. But the Due d'Orleans was in very bad 
odour with the King, owing to the intrigues for his own 
aggrandizement which he had carried on with the Allies 
when commanding in Spain two years before, and his 

1 There can, we think, be no more doubt that the Dauphin was 
secretly married to Mile. Choin than that his father was the husband 
of Madame de Maintenon. 

2 Louise Elisabeth de Bourbon-Conde, born November 22, 1693. 


debauched life ; he was disliked by Madame de Main- 
tenon, and simply detested by the Dauphin, " who 
always displayed his hatred in the most indecent 
manner." 1 Moreover, M on seigneur, while caring little 
for his younger sister, was warmly attached to Madame 
la Duchesse, who spent a good deal of her time at his 
country-house at Meudon ; and Mile, de Bourbon, 
besides being two years older than Mademoiselle, and 
therefore nearer the Due de Berry's age, was by far the 
more pleasing of the two young ladies. Most people 
accordingly inclined to the belief that the King's decision 
would be in her favour. 

Fortunately for Mademoiselle, she possessed in the 
Duchesse de Bourgogne and Saint-Simon two invaluable 

The prospect of a match between the Due de Berry 
and the daughter of Madame la Duchesse, who cherished 
the bitterest jealousy and hatred of the Duchesse de 
Bourgogne, and was the moving spirit of the " Cabal 
of Meudon," which had for some time past been intriguing 
actively to destroy the credit of her and her husband, 
was not one which that princess could afford to regard 
with complacency. In the first place, it would probably 
result in the Due de Berry, hitherto warmly attached to 
his brother and to herself, being drawn into the ranks 
of the opposing faction, and would certainly strengthen 
the influence of Madame la Duchesse over Monseigneur, 
already estranged from his eldest son. In the second, 
she was well aware of the power of novelty over 
Louis XIV. 's mind — was not her own exceptional favour 
a signal example of it ? — and feared that if a young, 

1 Saint-Simon. 


pretty, and vivacious girl, like Mile, de Bourbon, were 
admitted to the King's circle, she might find in her a 
dangerous rival. On the other hand, she and her hus- 
band had nothing to fear from the marriage of the Due 
de Berry with Mademoiselle. They had always been 
on very friendly terms with the Due and Duchesse 
d' Orleans ; while the girl herself, though not unattractive 
in person, possessed none of the qualities which were 
likely to appeal to the King. 

Saint-Simon had also excellent reasons for desiring 
to prevent the elevation of a daughter of Madame la 
Duchesse, his devotion to the interests of the Due and 
Duchesse de Bourgogne having greatly incensed that 
princess against him ; indeed, he declares that the 
marriage of Mile, de Bourbon would have been " like 
a millstone falling upon his head." On the other hand, 
his close friendship with the Orleans family made him 
naturally anxious to strengthen their position. If we 
are to believe him, it was he who aroused the Duchesse 
de Bourgogne to a sense of her " great duty to herself, 
which was perpetually in danger of being stifled by the 
fictitious and petty duties of daily life," and he certainly 
seems to have displayed almost superhuman energy in 
the struggle which ensued, not even disdaining to make 
use of his enemies the Jesuits, who, he confesses, became 
" a powerful instrument." It may be questioned, how- 
ever, if " all the machines which he regularly wound up 
in reciprocal cadence every day " would have succeeded 
in breaking down the aversion of Louis XIV., Madame 
de Maintenon, and Monseigneur to a marriage which 
would so much increase the importance of a man whom 
they all three regarded with aversion, had it not been 


for the persistence and address with which the Duchesse 
de Bourgogne seconded their efforts. 

A little before Easter, the duchess having succeeded 
in gaining over Madame de Maintenon, and having 
reason to believe that the King, thanks to the diplomatic 
conduct of Mademoiselle, was not unfavourably inclined, 
resolved to attempt a grand coup. One day, when 
Mademoiselle had been taken to see the King at Madame 
de Maintenon's, where the Dauphin also happened to 
be, as soon as the young princess had gone out, she 
began to praise her, and on a sudden, "with that pre- 
determined impulsiveness which she sometimes em- 
ployed," exclaimed : " What an admirable wife for the 
Due de Berry ! " At these words, Monseigneur coloured 
with vexation, and observed angrily that " that would 
be an excellent method of recompensing the Due d'Orleans 
for his conduct in Spain." With which he abruptly 
quitted the room, leaving the company all very much 
astonished, since no one had expected a person usually 
so phlegmatic and indifferent to exhibit so much feeling. 
The Duchesse de Bourgogne, " who had only spoken 
with the object of feeling the way with Monseigneur in 
the presence of the King," promptly took advantage of 
the mistake that prince had committed. " Ma tante," 
said she, turning with a pretty air of bewilderment to 
Madame de Maintenon, " have I said something foolish ? ' 
The King, annoyed by the brusqueness of the Dauphin, 
answered for Madame de Maintenon, and said, warmly, 
that, if Madame la Duchesse assumed that tone and was 
working to gain over Monseigneur, she would have to 
reckon with him. Upon which Madame de Maintenon 
adroitly fanned the flame, by remarking on the irritation, 


so very unusual in him, which Monseigneur had shown, 
adding that, if Madame la Duchesse had so much in- 
fluence, she would make him do other things of more 
consequence. Thus, the ruse of the Duchesse de Bour- 
gogne succeeded beyond her hopes, and before the 
company dispersed, "the attachment of the Dauphin to 
Madame la Duchesse had done more injury to Mile, de 
Bourbon than it could ever serve her." x 

Saint-Simon, informed of what had occurred, lost no 
time in bringing all his batteries into play — to borrow 
his own expression — and kept up so brisk and well- 
directed a fire that the breach already made in the 
defences widened daily, and he soon perceived that the 
moment had arrived to deliver the final assault. He 
therefore pressed the Due d'Orleans to speak to the King, 
but, to his disgust, that prince, " who was like a motion- 
less beam which stirred only in response to our redoubled 
efforts, and who remained so to the conclusion of this 
great business," immediately began to raise all kinds of 
objections. Saint-Simon, however, continued to press 
him, and at last he gave way and agreed to write to the 

It was then decided that they should each draft a 
letter, and that the one which appeared the most suitable 
should be submitted to his Majesty. Saint-Simon's pen 
was soon speeding over the paper, but, when he had 
finished, he perceived that the Due d'Orleans had not yet 
written a line and appeared lost in reflection. He there- 
fore suggested that, as the prince found so much diffi- 
culty in composing a letter himself, he had better copy 
his own, which the latter did, without making any im- 

1 Saint- Simon. 


portant changes, signed, sealed it, and placed it in his 
pocket. There it remained for a week, and might have 
remained indefinitely but for the persistence of Saint- 
Simon, who, one morning, when he had ascertained that 
Louis XIV. happened to be in an exceptionally good- 
humour, conducted him to the door of Madame de 
Maintenon's apartment, whither his Majesty had, as 
usual, repaired after Mass, and almost pushed him into 

the room. 

The Due d'Orleans lost nothing by the timidity with 
which he approached his Majesty, for it always flattered 
the pride of Louis XIV. to see himself feared ; and when 
persons, particularly members of his own family, showed 
diffidence in his presence, nothing pleased him more or 
more effectually served their cause. He placed the letter 
which his nephew handed him in his pocket, without 
opening it ; but he spoke to him very graciously in- 
deed ; and the prince quitted the room in a much more 
cheerful frame of mind than he had entered it. 

His hopes were justified, for, on the morrow, the King 
sent for him, and informed him that the suggested mar- 
riage between his eldest daughter and the Due de Berry 
met with his entire approval, adding, however, that 
Monseigneur was much opposed to the project, and that 
" he would take his time to speak to him on the matter." 

With victory fairly in sight, the Duchesse de Bourgogne, 
Saint-Simon and their allies redoubled their efforts ; and, 
though Madame la Duchesse and her friends endeavoured 
to snatch it from them, by circulating the most abomin- 
able rumours in regard to the relations between the Due 
d'Orleans and his daughter, which appear to have been 
the starting-point for the reports of a similar nature so 


prevalent during the Regency, the only result was to 
precipitate matters; and, on June i, Louis XIV., piqued 
by the insinuations skilfully conveyed to him that he 
did not dare to impose his will upon his son, sent for the 
Dauphin and bluntly proposed to him the match, " in 
the tone of a father, mingled with that of a King and 
a master." 

Monseigneur, much astonished, stammered and hesi- 
tated, but ended by promising compliance with the 
paternal wishes, stipulating only that the official announce- 
ment should be postponed for a few days, in order that 
he might have time to accustom himself to the idea of a 
marriage which was so little to his liking. To this the 
King graciously consented, warning him, however, that 
there must be no going back upon his word. Then he sent 
to inform the Due d'Orleans of the result of his interview 
with Monseigneur, authorising him to tell his wife, the 
Duchesse de Bourgogne, and Madame de Maintenon. 
Finally, it occurred to his Majesty that it might be as well, 
as a mere matter of form, to acquaint the Due de Berry, 
who, up to the present, would appear to have been in 
complete ignorance of all the intrigues and negotiations 
which had been going on for his settlement in life, of the 
fate in store for him. 

On the morrow, accordingly, he took his grandson into 
his cabinet, and inquired if he would like to get married, 
to which the prince replied evasively by an assurance of 
his willingness to submit in all things to his Majesty's 
orders. " The King then asked him if he would have any 
repugnance to espouse Mademoiselle, the only princess in 
France, added he, who was suitable for him, since, in the 
present circumstances, it was impossible to think of any 


foreign princess. The Due de Berry answered that he 
would obey the King with pleasure, whereupon the King 
informed him that it was his intention to have the mar- 
riage celebrated immediately, and that Monseigneur con- 
sented to it, but that he forbade him to speak about it." 1 
And the bridegroom-elect, who had an engagement to go 
wolf-hunting with his brother, the Due de Bourgogne, 
made his reverence, and hurried away to put on his riding- 

Charles, Due de Berry, the young prince who had just 
received the news of the disposal of his hand with so 
much complacency, was, as we have mentioned, the 
youngest of the three sons of Monseigneur, by his 
marriage with that strange creature, Maria Anna of 
Bavaria — " la Dauphine de Baviere," as historians call 
her. As a lad, he was a more engaging personality than 
either of his brothers, and his high spirits and frank, 
boyish face made him a universal favourite. Madame, 
whom his merry prattle never failed to amuse, was much 
attached to him, and his mother, noticing that lady's 
partiality for her little son, had playfully dubbed him " le 
Berry de Madame." The old princess, in her correspond- 
ence, relates several amusing anecdotes of her favourite's 

" I enjoyed myself at table," she writes, in December 
1697, in describing the family dinner which followed 
the marriage of the Due de Bourgogne, "for I was 
sitting next to my dear Due de Berry [aetat. eleven at 
this time], and he made me laugh. ' I can see my brother 
ogling his little wife,' said he ; ' but, if I wished, I could 
ogle quite as well ; you have to look steadily, sideways.' 

1 Saint-Simon. 


Saying which, he imitated his brother so drolly that I 
was obliged to laugh." 

Some months later, the Due de Berry, in company 
with his two elder brothers and the Duchesse de Bour- 
gogne, witnessed a performance of Moliere's Bourgeois 
gentilhomme, at the Comedie-Francaise. This was the 
first visit to a theatre that any of the three young princes 
had been permitted to pay, and their delight must have 
afforded the audience as much diversion as the antics of 
the immortal M. Jourdain. " The Due de Bourgogne," 
writes Madame, " quite lost his gravity and laughed till the 
tears came into his eyes ; the Due d'Anjou was so delighted 
that he sat in ecstasies, with his mouth wide open ; the Due 
de Berry laughed so much that he nearly fell off his chair." 1 

Notwithstanding his merry and good-natured dis- 
position^ a boy, the Due de Berry, like his eldest brother, 
the Due de Bourgogne, was cursed with a most un- 
governable temper, though happily it was not very often 
that it broke out. On these occasions, however, it must 
have been a sight not easily forgotten by those so unfor- 
tunate as to witness it. Madame relates how, one day, 
when he was about thirteen years of age, he went out 
shooting with his brothers, and, in spite of strict injunc- 
tions from his sous-gouvemeur, Razilly, shot so recklessly 
that he came within a few inches of killing the Due 
de Bourgogne. 2 Razilly took the gun away and refused 
to allow him to fire again, " whereupon he flew 

1 Correspondance de Madame, Duchesse d'Orleans (edit. Jaegle), 
Letter of November i, 1698. 

2 The Due de Berry appears to have been a decidedly dangerous 
person with whom to go out shooting, even when he had grown up. 
In the winter of 1712, while taking part in a battue at Marly, with his 
eldest brother and the Due de Bourbon, he had the misfortune to 
destroy the sight of one of the latter's eyes. 

Charles de France, Due de Berry 
From a contemporary print 


into so terrible a passion that he tried to dash out his 
own brains ; and would have succeeded, if they had not 
taken away from him a huge stone which he had seized 
in his hands." For this mad conduct and for the abuse 
which he heaped upon his unfortunate sons-gouverneur, 
Louis XIV. caused him to be placed for a week in solitary 
confinement, in order that he might have leisure for re- 
pentance ; but, since, we are told, he " did nothing but 
dance and sing," it can scarcely have produced the result 
desired. However, in time, he appears altogether to have 
outgrown these fits of passion. 

Now, in his twenty-fourth year, the Due de Berry 
was a handsome, fair-haired, fresh-complexioned, rather 
stout young man, modest, simple in his tastes, good- 
humoured, generous, honourable, and well-meaning, but 
a little stupid and entirely futile ; for he had never 
shown the least interest in his studies or, indeed, in any- 
thing serious, and cared for nothing in the world but 
amusement. " Provided that he enjoys himself, he cares 
not how," writes Madame, who was sorely disappointed 
in her favourite. " Here are his ordinary amusements : 
he shoots, plays cards, chatters with young ladies, and 
guzzles. Such are his pleasures. I had almost forgotten 
to add that he slides on the ice ; for that comes in too." 1 

1 The Due de Berry was, nevertheless, painfully conscious of his 
mental deficiencies, and this often seems to have paralysed what 
abilities he possessed, and made him appear far more vacuous than he 
really was. Saint-Simon relates how on the occasion of the sitting of 
the Parlement at Paris, at which the prince formally renounced all 
rights to the Crown of Spain, he was required to make a short speech, 
in reply to that of the First President. Saint-Simon composed it for 
him, and he learned it by heart, and repeated it quite correctly to 
Madame de Saint-Simon the night before the ceremony. Nevertheless, 
on the morrow, so great was his embarrassment that he was unable 
to remember a single word. 


But if his life were entirely futile, it was also entirely 
harmless, for " he had very good sense, and was capable 
of listening, of understanding, and of always taking the 
right side in preference to the wrong, however speciously 
put." 1 Moreover, he had resisted the temptations to 
which his father and grandfather had succumbed, and, 
if he never showed any marked piety, he entertained 
a sincere respect for religion. 

Such was the Due de Berry, a prince, who, notwith- 
standing the aimlessness of the existence which he had 
led hitherto, possessed qualities out of which a good and 
clever woman might have fashioned a not unworthy 
representative of his race ; for he was one of those men 
who are born to be dominated by their wives. But, un- 
happily, no one was less likely to effect this than the wife 
who had been chosen for him — a spoiled, petulant young 
girl, accustomed to submit to no restraint, and with no 
guiding principle save her own caprices. 

On June 3, the Dauphin having prudently decided to 
accept the inevitable with the best grace he could, the 
forthcoming marriage of the Due de Berry and Made- 
moiselle was publicly announced by Louis XIV., at Marly. 
On the following day, Mademoiselle arrived from Ver- 
sailles with her parents, and, after being joined by Madame, 
proceeded to the King's apartments, where they found 
his Majesty, with Monseigneur, the Due and Duchesse de 
Bourgogne, the Due de Berry, and the principal officers 
of the Court. " Madame presented Mademoiselle to the 
King ; she knelt at his feet, but the King immediately 
raised her up and embraced her, and forthwith presented 
her to Monseigneur, to the Due and Duchesse de Bour- 

1 Saint- Simon. 


gogne, and then to all the Court." The King, to relieve 
their embarrassment, " with that grace which he showed 
in all things," forbade Mademoiselle to speak to any one, 
and the Due de Berry to speak to her, and promptly 
cut short the interview. On leaving the royal presence, 
Mademoiselle, accompanied by her relatives, paid visits 
to the Princes and Princesses of the Blood, in order to 
receive their compliments ; and the same evening re- 
turned to Versailles. 

Since it was intended that the marriage should take 
place as soon as the necessary dispensation for the union 
of blood-relations should arrive from Rome, the King 
lost no time in forming the Households of the Due de 
Berry and his bride-elect. The most important post in 
the latter's, that of dame d'honneur, which carried with 
it a salary of 20,000 livres, was given, or rather — if we are 
to believe Saint-Simon — forced upon his wife, " who 
received the news of her appointment with tears." This 
was an excellent selection, for all contemporary writers 
render homage to the virtues of the Duchesse de Saint- 
Simon ; but Louis XIV. showed very little discretion in 
filling the other posts about the young princess's person ; 
indeed, merit seems to have played an even less con- 
spicuous part than usual in determining his choice. Thus, 
the dame d'atours, Madame de la Vieuville, was a con* 
firmed intrigante, and the first waiting-woman, Mile, de la 
Devaize, owed her appointment to the favour of the 
Duchesse d'Orleans, of whom she was one of the most 
assiduous flatterers. 

The Papal dispensation having arrived, at five o'clock 
in the evening of July 5, the marriage-contract was signed 
in the King's cabinet at Versailles. This ceremony gave 


rise to a piquant incident. It was the custom for the 
fiancee to wear upon these occasions a velvet mantle lined 
with ermine, the train of which was borne by a princess 
of equal rank to her own. Well, the sisters of the future 
Duchesse de Berry, Miles, de Chartres and de Valois, had 
lately been sent to the Abbey of Chelles, and, since 
there were no " daughters " or " granddaughters of 
France," the duty reverted, by the irony of Fate, to her 
vanquished rival, Mile, de Bourbon ! 

The indignation of Madame la Duchesse, already deeply 
incensed by the defeat which she had recently sustained, 
may be imagined when she learned of the bitter humilia- 
tion in store for her daughter. Was it not enough that 
the Orleans should have succeeded, by the aid of the 
most unscrupulous intrigues, in snatching from her the 
rich prize which had once been almost within her grasp, 
that her child should be expected to grace their triumph ? 
How was it possible that the King could permit her to 
be thus publicly humiliated ? And she besieged his 
Majesty with tears and lamentations. 

The King sympathised with his elder daughter and 
Mile, de Bourbon, but he was too great a slave to etiquette 
even to contemplate a departure from established usage. 
He sought, however, to circumvent the difficulty, and 
accordingly requested the Due d'Orleans to make his 
daughters return for the ceremony. The duke did not 
dare to refuse, and, to the disgust of his spiteful consort, 
who was unwilling to spare her detested sister this crown- 
ing mortification, and had no doubt hastened the depar- 
ture of her daughters for Chelles with the express pur- 
pose of creating the present imbroglio, the little girls were 
sent for. Being unwilling, however, that the Court should 


believe that Madame la Duchesse had succeeded in 
thwarting her amiable intentions, she resolved to invent a 
colourable pretext for their return, and, having given out 
that they had only as yet been ondoyees, she caused them, 
on July 3, to proceed to the supplementary ceremonies of 
baptism. It is, however, doubtful if many people were 
deceived by this rather transparent fiction, and, any way, 
Madame la Duchesse had the satisfaction of seeing Mile, 
de Chartres bearing the train of the bride-elect's mantle 
instead of her own daughter. 

On the day after the betrothal ceremony (July 6), the 
marriage was celebrated in the chapel of the Chateau of 
Versailles, by the Cardinal de Janson, before a brilliant 
assemblage. Afterwards, the bride and bridegroom dined 
alone with the Duchesse de Bourgogne, the dinner being 
followed by a card-party, at which the stakes as usual 
ruled pretty high. 1 In the evening, the King gave a 
sumptuous supper, to which all the Princes and Princesses 
were invited. Supper over, the company escorted the 
bridal pair to their apartments, through the midst of a 
crowd of courtiers, who had ranged themselves in the 
form of a hedge. Among the crowd were a number of 
swell mobsmen from Paris, some of whom were disguised 
as priests, others as officers in the Army. But they got 
very little for their trouble, as people had been warned 

1 Fortune would not appear to have smiled upon the Due de 
Berry on this occasion, since, we learn, that, shortly afterwards, 
he was obliged to abstain from the card-table, as he had not sufficient 
money to play with. " The Duchesse de Bourgogne," writes Saint- 
Simon, " informed the King of this ; and the King, feeling the state 
in which he himself was, said that he had only five hundred pistoles 
[about five thousand francs] to give him. He gave them with an 
excuse on the misfortunes of the time, because the Duchesse de Bour- 
gogne thought, with reason, that a little was better than nothing, and 
that it was insufferable not to be able to play." 



by the Lieutenant of Police to be on their guard, and the 
only loss of any note was a valuable watch belonging to 
a Mile. Voisin. 

On reaching the nuptial chamber, the Cardinal de 
Janson pronounced the benediction of the bed ; the King 
handed the nightshirt to his grandson, and the Duchesse 
de Bourgogne performed the same service for the bride. 
The happy pair then got into bed ; the Due de Beauvilliers, 
on the bridegroom's side, and Madame de Saint-Simon, on 
that of the bride, drew the curtains, " laughing together 
at being so employed " ; x and the company solemnly 
filed out of the room in order of precedence, the King 
leading the way. 

On the morrow, after Mass, Louis XIV. came to visit 
the Duchesse de Berry ; and during her toilette the princess 
received the homage of the courtiers, who were presented 
to her by Madame de Saint-Simon, in her capacity as 
dame d'honneur. As on the previous day, the Due and 
Duchesse de Berry dined and played cards in the apart- 
ments of the Duchesse de Bourgogne, and then returned 
to their own, to receive a visit from the exiled Queen of 

Thus began the married life of Marie Louise d' Orleans, 
Duchesse de Berry, but, before speaking of that, let us say 
a few words about the early years of her younger sisters, 
Miles, de Chartres and de Valois. 

These two young ladies, aged respectively eleven and 
nine, had been leading a neglected and monotonous 
existence in the Palais-Royal, varied by frequent quarrels 
with their elder sister and visits to their grandmother at 

1 Saint-Simon. 


Saint-Cloud. Mile, de Chartres was a pretty little girl, 
of a frank, open disposition, very independent and self- 
willed, but remarkably quick and intelligent. She shared 
the studies of her brother, the little Due de Chartres, and 
since that prince was generally idle and inattentive, his 
tutor, the Abbe de Montgaut, preferred to address him- 
self to the young princess, who showed a real eagerness to 
profit by his instruction, and was particularly interested 
in theology. 

Mile, de Valois was not so pretty as her sister, and an 
altogether less pleasing personality. She did not lack 
intelligence, when she chose to exercise it, which, how- 
ever, very seldom happened in the schoolroom, since she 
had inherited not a little of her mother's indolence. She 
showed, too, even thus early, that she possessed another 
of the maternal failings, which was to develop so rapidly 
that, seven years later, Madame wrote : " The Duchesse 
d'Orleans would be the most deceitful person in the 
world, if it were not for her daughter, Mile, de Valois. 
She is even worse. I think it horrible to find such deceit- 
fulness in a person so young." 1 In addition, the little 
princess does not appear to have been endowed with the 
sweetest of tempers. 

The Duchesse d'Orleans considered that it would be 
very embarrassing to keep two girls of eleven and nine 
near a married sister who had not yet completed her 
fifteenth year ; and as soon as the marriage of Made- 
moiselle was definitely arranged, she decided to confide 
them to the care of some religious house. Madame, who 
was very fond of the children, and particularly of Mile, de 
Chartres, offered to take charge of them and have them 

1 Letter of May 17, 171 7. 


brought up under her own eye at Saint-Cloud ; but the 
Duchesse d'Orleans disliked her mother-in-law far too 
heartily to agree to this proposal. Besides, she hoped 
that, once in a convent, both girls would ere long discover 
that they had a vocation for the religious life, which 
would save her a great deal of trouble and anxiety in 
years to come. 

" The Due d'Orleans places his daughters in religion 
to the number of two," writes Madame d'Huxelles, under 
date June 7, 1710, " for there is a third, who is as yet 
only five or six months old. 1 These two elder princesses 
are in despair at this decision. It is the Abbey of Chelles, 
whither they will proceed when their apartments have 
been made ready, and the Marechale de Villars goes to 
arrange about that to-day." 2 

The preparations for the reception of the two little 
princesses were soon completed, and on June 9 they set 
out for Chelles, " accompanied by a sous-gouvernante and 
six unmarried waiting-women, as the abbess had de- 
manded." The poor children, who would have infinitely 
preferred to remain under their grandmother's care at 
Saint-Cloud, regarded the prospect before them with any- 
thing but pleasurable anticipation, and were " in such a 
state of distress that they passed through Paris with the 
curtains of their carriage closed." The following day, 
Dangeau records that the Due and Duchesse d'Orleans 
had gone to Chelles to visit their daughters. 

The Abbey of Chelles, the convent selected for Miles, 
de Chartres and de Valois, was situated between Lagny 


1 Louise Elisabeth, Mile, de Montpensier, born December n, 1709. 

2 Lettres de la Marquise d'Huxelles, cited by Barthelemy. 


and Meaux, and was one of the most celebrated houses 
of the Benedictine Order in France. It owed its first 
foundation to Sainte-Clotilde, but its real founder was 
Sainte-Bathilde, wife of Clovis II., who, about 662, rebuilt 
the convent on a much more extensive scale, and who, 
when her son, Clotaire II., was of an age to reign, retired 
thither to spend the remaining years of her life. The 
example of this pious queen had attracted to Chelles 
several distinguished personages ; Sonichilde, wife of 
Charles Martel, had taken the veil there ; Giselle, sister of 
Charlemagne ; Hermentrude, widow of Charles le Chauve ; 
Bathilde, daughter of the same Sovereign ; and, in later 
times, Marie Henriette de Bourbon, natural daughter of 
Henri IV. and Henriette d'Entragues, had all held the 
office of abbess ; and throughout the ages it had always 
maintained its character as an eminently aristocratic 
house. The discipline imposed upon its inmates, severe 
at first, was gradually relaxed as time went on, until, 
towards the end of the fifteenth century, the bishops of 
Paris found themselves compelled to interfere and to 
introduce some rather drastic reforms. It is doubtful 
if the desired result was completely attained ; any way, 
it was not permanent ; and, at the beginning of the 
eighteenth century, Chelles was generally regarded as a 
place where the superfluous daughters of noble families 
might prepare themselves for a future life without alto- 
gether renouncing the comforts of this. 

The abbey was a vast and imposing building, shut in 
by high and massive walls, and standing in the midst of 
extensive grounds, which comprised not only very beauti- 
ful gardens shaded by stately elms and venerable limes, 
and gay in summer-time with a wealth of flowers, but 


orchards, kitchen-gardens and fishponds, the contents of 
which doubtless contributed not a little to console the 
good sisters for the fasts which the Church imposed. In 
fact, it would be difficult to imagine a more pleasant 
retreat from the world. 

In 1709, the monastery had for its abbess, Agnes de 
Villars, sister of the celebrated marshal, upon whom the 
office had been conferred some two years before. This lady, 
who had previously been prioress of the Benedictine abbey 
of Saint-Andre-le-Haut, at Vienne, enjoyed a great repu- 
tation for piety, but she was harsh, austere, and haughty, 
and exceedingly jealous of her authority, " consoling 
herself by the joys of domination for the sacrifice of all 
the others." 1 In consequence, she was far from being 
beloved by those over whom she ruled, particularly by 
such of the novices as still regretted the world which they 
had left, and sought to prolong as much as possible their 
semi-liberty and to lengthen their road towards the final 
renunciation by all kinds of pretexts. From the first, the 
abbess and the self-willed and quick-witted little Mile, de 
Chartres seem to have been antagonistic; and when, 
eight years later, the princess having pronounced her 
vows, made up her mind to supplant her, their relations 
became very strained indeed. 

The prioress, Madame de Fretteville, was an infinitely 
more attractive personality : sweet-tempered, kind, 
motherly, and sympathetic. As mistress of the novices, 
she had learned to understand young girls and to make 
them love her, and she soon acquired a considerable in- 

1 Lescure, les Confessions de I'abbesse de Chelles : Louise- Adelaide 
d'Orleans, a fictitious autobiography, which, however, contains a good 
deal of valuable information. 


fluence over Mile, de Chartres, and contributed powerfully 
to develop her taste for the religious life and to deter- 
mine her to take the veil. Probably, she tried to persuade 
Mile, de Valois to edify the world by a similar renuncia- 
tion of its pleasures, but, if so, the seed she sowed fell on 
barren ground. 

The latter princess remained at Chelles until the be- 
ginning of August 1714, when she quitted it never to 
return ; Mile, de Chartres's first sojourn at the abbey of 
which she was one day to be the head lasted until 
October 1715. Beyond recording the appearance of the 
two girls at the marriage of their eldest sister, the chroni- 
clers are silent concerning their life during these years, 
which was no doubt the usual monotonous, but not un- 
pleasant, one of high-born little pensionnaires in a convent. 
The visit which their parents had paid them on the 
morrow of their arrival does not seem to have been re- 
peated — at any rate, Dangeau, so careful to record the 
minutest details concerning the movements of the different 
members of the Royal House, makes no mention of it. 
But we can well understand that the Duchesse d'Orleans, 
anxious that both princesses should enter religion, was 
unwilling to do anything which might distract their 
thoughts from the direction in which she hoped they 
were tending. 


The Duchesse de Berry — Her portrait by Largilliere — Madame's de- 
scription of her — Her odious character — Her intimacy with the 
Duchesse de Bourgogne — Her jealousy of that princess — Her hus- 
band's infatuation for her — She gets disgracefully intoxicated at 
Saint-Cloud — She joins the " Cabal of Meudon " — Rupture between 
her and the Duchesse de Bourgogne — She persuades the Due de 
Berry to break off his friendly relations with his sister-in-law — She 
is severely reprimanded by the King — Illness and death of the 
Dauphin — Despair of the Duchesse de Berry, who sees all her plans 
ruined by this event — Magnanimity of the Duchesse de Bourgogne, 
now Dauphine — Indignation of the Duchesse de Berry at being 
compelled to render ceremonial service to her sister-in-law — Abomi- 
nable rumours concerning her relations with her father — Saint- 
Simon informs the Due d'Orleans of these, and the prince, to his 
astonishment and indignation, reports the conversation to his 
daughter — The Duchesse de Berry gives birth prematurely to a 
daughter — Insolence of the princess towards her mother — Madame 
is charged by the King to reprimand her granddaughter — Mile, de 
Vienne — The affair of the diamond necklace. 

ON her marriage-day, the Duchesse de Berry was 
within just five weeks of completing her fifteenth 
year. A charming painting of her by Largilliere shows 
us a very attractive, if somewhat buxom, young girl, in a 
white gown sewn and clasped with emeralds and dia- 
monds, playing with some tall poppies, which are shed- 
ding their leaves, and holding in her pretty, plump 
fingers the stalk of a clematis. The features, without 
having any pretence to beauty, are regular and pleasing ; 
the hair abundant and of a very pretty shade of brown ; 
the hands and arms well-formed ; and there is a fresh- 
ness, an ingenuousness, about her which is wholly de- 



lightful. But Court painters at the beginning of the 
eighteenth century did not scruple to flatter their patrons 
— they would not, indeed, have been Court painters if 
they had not — and there can be little doubt that, in this 
instance, the counterfeit presentment is far more pleasing 
than the original. 

Saint-Simon describes the princess as " tall, handsome, 
and well-made," though lacking in grace ; while the Due 
de Berry, who speedily became enamoured of his young 
wife, thought her, according to Madame, " the prettiest 
person in the world, and that Helen was not half so 
beautiful " — an opinion which he shared with his father- 
in-law. Madame, on the other hand, denies that she was 
" pretty at all, either in face or figure. She is thick-set, 
with long arms and short hips ; she walks badly and is 
ungraceful in all her movements ; makes horrible faces ; 
has a discontented expression ; is marked by smallpox ; 
has red eyes — light blue in the iris — and a ruddy com- 
plexion, and looks much older than she is." In fact, the 
only attractions which her grandmother will allow her 
are her throat, hands, and arms, " which are perfectly 
beautiful, very white, and well-formed." 

Whatever difference of opinion may exist in regard to 
the appearance of the Duchesse de Berry, there is un- 
happily none as to her character. All her contemporaries, 
all historians, are agreed that she was one of the most 
odious young women whom the Court of France had ever 
seen. She had all her mother's arrogance and deceit ; 
all her father's irreligion and licentiousness, to which she 
joined a violent temper, drunkenness, gluttony, a con- 
temptuous disregard of ordinary decency, and a most 
foul tongue. In short, according to Saint-Simon, who 


confesses that, if he had only known " the half-quarter 
— what do I say ? — the thousandth part, of what we 
have unhappily been the witnesses," he would have 
laboured with even greater zeal to prevent her marriage 
to the Due de Berry than he did to bring it about, she 
was a model of all the vices, avarice excepted. And yet, 
with all this, she was highly intelligent, and could, when 
she wished, be most agreeable and amiable, " speaking 
with an ease and precision that charmed and over- 
powered." But her undoubted talents were never em- 
ployed for any good purpose, but merely to serve her own 
unworthy ends. Consequently, they made her only the 
more repulsive. 

Until she was actually married, the Duchesse de Berry 
had succeeded in conveying the impression, save among 
those who knew her most intimately, that she was a 
damsel of a singularly modest and retiring disposition, 
and, even when leaving the chapel after the nuptial Mass, 
she had feigned the greatest reluctance to take precedence 
of her grandmother, as her new rank entitled her to do. 
" Push me then, Madame," said she to the old princess, 
who had motioned her to take the pas. " I must be 
pushed to make me pass before you, and I shall require 
some time yet to accustom myself to that honour." 1 
But, once her brilliant position was assured, she was not 
long in giving the Court a glimpse of those qualities which 
were to secure for her such unenviable celebrity ; though 
it was not until after the death of her husband and of 
Louis XIV. that she gave her vices a free rein. 

During the first months of their married life she and 
her husband were on terms of the closest intimacy with 

1 Journal de Dangeau, July 6, 1710. 


Marie Louise Elisabeth d'Orlkans, 
Duchesse de Berry 

From an engraving a 

fter the painting by Largilliere 


the Due and Duchesse de Bourgogne. The two brothers 
had always been on the most cordial terms, and, if only 
for her husband's sake, the Duchesse de Bourgogne, who 
had worked so energetically to promote the marriage, 
was sincerely anxious to gain her sister-in-law's affection. 
Since the Household of the Due and Duchesse de Berry 
was not finally organised until the end of the winter of 
171 1, owing to the fact that some months were required 
to complete the equipages, plate, and so forth which they 
would require, they accepted the hospitality of the Bour- 
gogne menage, and the two princesses were continually 
together. When the Duchesse de Berry did not follow 
the chase on horseback, she generally occupied a seat in 
her sister-in-law's carriage ; they paid visits to Paris and 
made country-excursions in each other's company ; dined 
together nearly every day, and, in a word, seemed the 
best of friends. But this intimacy did not last very long, 
for the younger princess possessed none of the lovable 
qualities which endeared the charming daughter of Victor 
Amadeus to all about her, and she was, in secret, bitterly 
jealous of the brilliant position to which the favour of 
Louis XIV. had raised her. She was displeased, too, by 
the affectionate relations which existed between the two 
brothers, and, as the Due de Berry, " like all who marry 
very young and green," 1 had begun his married life by 
falling very much in love with her, she exploited the in- 
fluence which she soon obtained over this feeble prince 
to separate him from his elder brother, so that she might 
dominate him the more absolutely. 

1 Saint-Simon. The writer, however, forgets that the Due de 
Berry did not marry until his twenty-fourth year, which was certainly 
not " very young " for a French prince. 


A few months after her marriage, the Duchesse de 
Berry became in an interesting condition, but this did 
not prevent her from indulging her taste for wine and 
her gluttonous instincts. Hitherto these weaknesses had 
been rather suspected than known, since, when in the 
company of others, she had contrived to exercise some 
degree of moderation ; but, on the occasion of a supper- 
party at Saint-Cloud, she behaved in a manner which 
effectually dispelled all doubts about the matter. Saint- 
Simon informs us of the incident, without dissimulating 
anything : 

" I shall pass lightly over an event which, engrafted 
upon some others, made some noise, notwithstanding the 
care taken to hush it up. The Duchesse de Bourgogne 
supped at Saint-Cloud one evening with the Duchesse de 
Berry and others, Madame de Saint-Simon absenting her- 
self from the party. The Duchesse de Berry and the 
Due d'Orleans, but she more than he, got so drunk that 
the Duchesse de Bourgogne, the Duchesse d'Orleans, and 
the rest of the company knew not what to do. The Due 
de Berry was there, and him they talked over as well as 
they could, and the numerous company was amused by 
the Grand Duchess, * to the best of her ability. The effect 
of the wine in more ways than one was such that people 
were troubled, and, since she could not be sobered, it 
became necessary to carry her back, drunk as she was, 
to Versailles. All the servants waiting with the carriages 
saw the condition she was in, and did not keep it to them- 
selves ; nevertheless, they succeeded in concealing it from 

1 Marguerite Louise d'Orleans, daughter of Gaston d'Orleans, 
younger brother of Louis XIII., and wife of Cosimo III., Grand Duke 
of Tuscany. 


the King, from Monseigneur, and from Madame de Main- 
tenon." 1 

For a time, the Duchesse de Berry continued to profess 
the warmest friendship for the Duchesse de Bourgogne, 
the while she studied the situation at Court and cast 
about her for the most effective means of injuring her 
unsuspecting sister-in-law. She soon perceived that the 
only menace to the credit of the Duchesse de Bourgogne 
lay in the " Cabal of Meudon," the little group of dis- 
contented and ambitious spirits, headed by Madame la 
Duchesse and her half-sister, the Princesse de Conti, who 
surrounded the Dauphin. The object of this cabal was 
twofold : to estrange Monseigneur from his eldest son and 
daughter-in-law, so as to insure that, when that prince 
should ascend the throne, they would be reduced to 
impotence, and to destroy the influence of the Duchesse 
de Bourgogne with the King. The defeat sustained by 
this faction over the recent marriage showed what little 
chance they possessed of succeeding in their second 
object ; indeed, since the failure of their machinations 
against the Bourgognes at the time of the disastrous 
Oudenarde campaign two years before, they had almost 
abandoned hope in this direction, and had concentrated 
their efforts upon the first part of their programme, which 

1 This drunken orgy was followed, at a brief interval, by a glut- 
tonous one, which was, if possible, even more revolting. Under date 
December 14, 1710, Madame writes : " Yesterday evening, the Duchesse 
de Berry gave us a great fright. She suddenly fainted dead away, 
and we thought it was an apoplectic seizure. However, after the 
Duchesse de Bourgogne had sprinkled her face with vinegar, she came 
to, and was dreadfully sick. It was not surprising. For two hours, 
at the play, she had been stuffing herself with all kinds of horrible 
things : peaches au caramel, marrons glacis, gooseberry paid, dried 
cherries, and a lot of lemon into the bargain. Then, at supper, she ate 
a quantity of fish and drank proportionately." 


presented comparatively little difficulty. For Mon- 
seigneur, though he was much attached to the lively 
Due de Berry, had never cared for his eldest son, whose 
ascetic and studious life was a tacit reproach to his own 
sensual and aimless existence, and he was jealous of the 
high opinion which the King entertained of him and the 
exceptional favour enjoyed by his wife. If the task of 
poisoning his mind against the Due and Duchesse de 
Bourgogne could be accomplished, it was certain that, in 
the event of his surviving the King, they would find them- 
selves entirely without influence in the new reign. 

Having satisfied herself that she could best gratify her 
malice, and, at the same time, serve her own interests, by 
joining the coterie who surrounded and dominated the 
Dauphin, the Duchesse de Berry lost no time in making 
advances to them. They were very favourably received, 
for it was felt that the wife of Monseigneur's favourite 
son would, in any case, be a useful auxiliary, and a most 
valuable one, if she could succeed in separating the Due 
de Berry from the Bourgognes and persuading him to 
second her efforts to embitter his father's mind against 
them. And so, towards the end of 1710, the Court saw, 
not a little to its astonishment, the young princess who 
had frustrated the hopes of Mile, de Bourbon on the 
most cordial terms with Madame la Duchesse and those 
who had striven to prevent her marriage, and a regular 
guest at the Meudon house-parties. 

The Duchesse de Bourgogne, recognising the error she 
had committed in admitting to her friendship a girl who 
could so easily forget the obligations under which she had 
placed her, wisely decided to see as little of her as possible 
in the future, while, however, preserving her old relations 


with the Due de Berry, to whom she was sincerely 
attached. But, profiting by the influence she had suc- 
ceeded in acquiring over her husband, the Duchesse de 
Berry laboured unceasingly to embroil him with his 
sister-in-law, or, at least, to put an end to all intimacy 
between them ; and so far succeeded that the Due de 
Berry's manner towards that princess altogether changed, 
and became distant and constrained. This unexpected 
coldness from one who had always shown her so much 
affection deeply distressed the Duchesse de Bourgogne, 
and, since there could be no doubt to whose influence it 
was attributable, she promptly broke with her sister-in- 
law, though without making any scandal. 

At the end of the winter, the Household of the Due 
and Duchesse de Berry was finally organised, and the 
two menages, to their mutual relief, ceased to live to- 
gether, which gave the courtiers an opportunity of 
showing on which side their sympathies lay. They did 
not hesitate, for the Duchesse de Bourgogne was not only 
the idol of the King, but " she had attached all hearts to 
her," 1 and, while her apartments were crowded, those of 
her malicious sister-in-law were almost deserted. The 
latter, bitterly mortified, represented to her husband that 
this neglect was due to the machinations of the Duchesse 
de Bourgogne, and persuaded the uxorious prince to 
resent what she designated as an unpardonable affront 
by breaking altogether with his brother's wife. Shortly 
afterwards, the unfortunate incident at Saint-Cloud was 
repeated, and this time the Duchesse de Bourgogne, now 
thoroughly exasperated, declined to join the conspiracy 
of silence and revealed everything to the King. 

1 Saint-Simon. 


Louis XIV., anxious to preserve peace in his family, 
contented himself by causing the Duchesse de Berry to 
be informed that he knew all. But the young princess, 
misinterpreting the King's indulgence, showed not the 
slightest disposition to amend her ways ; and, at length, 
her dame d'honneur, Madame de Saint-Simon, fearing a 
scandal, for which she herself might be held responsible, 
deemed it her duty to warn Madame de Maintenon. To 
her surprise, she found that that lady had already taken 
measures to keep herself informed of the course of events ; 
and, strong in this support, Madame de Saint-Simon 
returned to her mistress and spoke to her very plainly 
indeed. The princess attempted to take a haughty tone 
with the duchess, but the latter cut short her flow 
of eloquence by asking to be relieved of her post, since, 
in the face of so many unpleasant incidents, she had no 
wish to retain it. Comprehending the gravity of the 
situation, the princess hastened to assure Madame de Saint- 
Simon of the esteem in which she held her and her desire 
to profit by her counsels, which, however, did not prevent 
the dame d'honneur from promptly acquainting both the 
Duchesse d'Orleans and Madame with what had passed. 

On the morrow, before dinner, the Duchesse de Berry 
was summoned to the King's cabinet, where his Majesty 
expressed his opinion of her conduct in no measured 
terms, and gave her to understand that its continuance 
would entail consequences to herself of the most un- 
pleasant kind. After dinner, she received orders from the 
King to go to the apartment of Madame de Maintenon, 
" who, without speaking so loudly, did not speak less 
firmly." 1 The erring princess listened humbly, feigned 

1 Saint-Simon. 


repentance, and promised amendment, but with senti- 
ments of the most bitter hatred against her sister-in-law, 
which the attitude of the courtiers, who, aware that she 
had fallen under the ban of the royal displeasure, ignored 
her more than ever, naturally did not tend to modify. 
" She consoled herself," says Saint-Simon, " by establish- 
ing still closer relations with the Meudon coterie, and by 
discounting in advance the revenge which she would take 
when the Dauphin should become King." 

But, in the early spring of that same year, a tragic 
event occurred, which broke up the "Cabal of Meudon " 
and upset all the projects of the Duchesse de Berry. 

With the exception of a short, but rather alarming ill- 
ness in Lent 1701, occasioned by the consumption of an 
abnormal quantity of fish, Monseignear, who was now in 
his fiftieth year, had since childhood enjoyed the most 
robust health, and nothing seemed more certain than that 
he would outlive the King, who had aged considerably of 
late, and upon whom the fatigues and anxieties of State 
were beginning to weigh very heavily. However, it was 
ordained otherwise. 

On April 8 — the Wednesday in Easter Week — Mon- 
seigneur left Versailles for Meudon, where he intended to 
pass some days. On the following morning, he rose early, 
with the intention of going wolf-hunting, but, while 
dressing, was seized with a sudden attack of faintness 
and fell back into a chair. Boudin, his chief physician, 
who was at once summoned, made him go to bed again, 
and, of course, caused the King to be informed. But, 
though his patient's temperature was alarmingly high, 
he expressed the opinion that there was no cause for un- 
easiness; and Louis XIV., concluding that the illness was 



a slight one — perhaps another attack of indigestion — did 
not think it necessary to visit his son, and, in fact, spent 
the afternoon at Marly. The Due and Duchesse de Bour- 
gogne, however, at once started for Meudon, and remained 
all day in the sick-room, " the princess joining to the 
strict duties of a daughter-in-law all that kindness could 
suggest and giving everything to Monseigneur with her 
own hands." In the evening, they returned to Versailles. 

Next morning, the Dauphin was much worse, and it 
became evident that he was suffering from smallpox, and 
in a very severe form. Louis XIV., who had never had 
any fear of exposing himself to infection, 1 started for 
Meudon immediately after Mass, accompanied by Madame 
de Maintenon and a small suite, having previously for- 
bidden the Dues de Bourgogne and de Berry and their 
wives, and all persons who had not had smallpox, to follow 
him thither, with the exception of the Ministers, who re- 
ceived orders to come every morning. At Meudon, the 
King installed himself in a suite of rooms immediately 
above Monseigneur, whom he visited several times a day. 

At Versailles, meanwhile, the most intense excitement 
prevailed ; the apartments of the Due and Duchesse de 
Bourgogne could not contain the people who flocked 
thither, many of whom belonged to the Meudon faction, 
and had hitherto held aloof from the young couple, but, 
in view of the serious condition of Monseigneur, were now 
feverishly anxious to conciliate the prince who in a few 
hours' time might be Dauphin of France. " When the 
prince and princess rose, when they retired to bed, when 

1 Madame de Caylus tells us that when Madame la Duchesse was 
ill with smallpox, at Fontainebleau, in the autumn of 1684, the King 
insisted on visiting her, although her father-in-law, the Great Conde, 
strove by main force to prevent him entering the sick-room. 


they dined and supped, all public conversation, all meals, 
all assemblies, were opportunities of paying court to them. 
The Due and Duchesse de Berry were treated almost as 
nobodies. It was like the first glimmerings of the dawn." 1 

On the 13th, Monseigncur seemed better, but this im- 
provement was of short duration. On the morrow, his 
illness suddenly took a turn for the worse ; in the after- 
noon, he became unconscious ; about seven o'clock, it was 
seen that he was slowly sinking, and before midnight he 
passed away, without recovering consciousness. 

Saint-Simon, in an unforgettable picture, has described 
for us the scene at Versailles that April night when the 
news arrived that the heir to the throne was in extremis : 
the sudden throwing open of doors ; the hurried rising 
and dressing of those who had retired to bed ; the 
rush of ladies in their dressing-gowns to the apartments 
of the Duchesse de Bourgogne ; the departure of the 
princess to meet the King at the Orangery, on his way 
from Meudon to Marly ; her return with the news that 
all was over ; the Due de Bourgogne seated on a sofa, 
" weeping the tears of nature, religion, and patience " ; 
the duchess sitting by his side and endeavouring to con- 
sole him, " which was a less difficult task than that of 
appearing herself in need of consolation"; the appari- 
tion of Madame in full Court costume — she tells us herself 
that she never possessed a robe de chambre — among the 
ladies en deshabille, " flooding them all with her tears 
and making the chateau resound with her cries " ; 2 the 

1 Saint-Simon. 

2 And, only the previous day, according to the chronicler, she had 
had a long conversation with him, in which she did not attempt to 
conceal her disappointment at the news that Monseigneur's illness 
had taken a favourable turn, and that he seemed likely to get over it. 


varied emotions — hope, despair, rage, satisfaction — which 
revealed themselves on the faces of the courtiers ; the 
groans and tears of Monseigneur's servants. But no part 
of that picture is more vivid than that in which he paints 
the despair of the Due and Duchesse de Berry, skilfully 
discriminating between the grief which proceeds from 
genuine affection, and that which is the outcome of 
baffled spite and thwarted ambition : 

" The Due de Berry shed abundance of tears, but tears 
of blood, so to speak, so great appeared their bitterness ; 
and he gave utterance not only to sobs, but to cries, 
nay, even to yells. Now and again he was silent, but 
from suffocation, and then would break out once more 
with such a noise, such a trumpet-sound of despair, that 
the majority of those present broke out also at these 
dolorous repetitions, either impelled by affliction or de- 
corum. He became so bad, in fact, that his people were 
forced to undress him, put him to bed, and summon the 

" The Duchess de Berry was beside herself, and we 
shall soon see why. The most bitter despair was de- 
picted on her countenance. One saw, as it were, written 
there a rage of grief, based on interest, not on affection ; 
at intervals came dry lulls deep and sullen, then a torrent 
of tears and involuntary gestures, and yet restrained, 
which revealed a profound bitterness of mind. Often 
aroused by the cries of her husband, prompt to assist 
him, to support him, to embrace him, her care for him 
was evident ; but soon came another profound reverie, then 
another torrent of tears, which aided to suppress her cries." 

The despair of the Duchesse de Berry can well be 
understood, for the position in which the sudden death 


of Monseigncur had placed her was no unenviable one. 
The mischievous intrigues against the Duchesse de Bour- 
gogne which she had carried on so assiduously, in the 
confident expectation that, in a few years, the accession 
of her father-in-law would enable her to gratify to the 
full both her malice and her ambition, had been an open 
secret at the Court ; and now Monseigneur was no more, 
and the princess against whom she had conspired had 
become the wife of the heir to the throne, before whom 
every one must bow down. The cabal with which she 
had associated herself no longer existed, and the more 
prudent of its former members were endeavouring to 
make their peace with the new Dauphin and Dauphine ; 
her father adored her, it is true, but since his intrigues in 
Spain he had been quite without influence at Court ; 
while she had deeply offended her mother by the rude- 
ness with which she had repulsed that princess's sage 
counsels, when she had endeavoured to dissuade her from 
embarking in the campaign against the Duchesse de 
Bourgogne, and by the spiteful manner in which she lost 
no opportunity of reminding her of the disadvantages 
which attached to her illegitimate birth. Saint-Simon 
relates that, one morning when the Duchesse d'Orleans 
came to visit her daughter at her toilette, a new usher 
happened to be on duty. In admitting her, this official 
thoughtlessly threw open both of the folding-doors, an 
honour which was reserved for the King and the " sons 
and daughters of France." The Duchesse de Berry made 
no attempt to disguise her annoyance at the mistake, and 
gave her mother a very cold reception ; and no sooner 
had the latter departed, than she called Madame de 
Saint-Simon, and ordered her to discharge the maladroit 


usher who had opened the door as for a " daughter of 
France," which the Duchesse d'Orleans, being legitimated, 
was not. Madame de Saint-Simon reasoned with the 
angry princess, who " insisted, wept and raged," but 
finally consented to allow her dame d'honneur merely to 
admonish the delinquent. 

So the Duchesse de Berry found herself, through the 
death of Monseigneur, in a position of almost complete 
isolation, and might have been in a still more unpleasant 
one, if the princess whom she had treated with such in- 
gratitude had not been too generous to trample on a 
fallen foe. Fortunately for her, both the new Dauphin 
and his wife, so far from wishing to humiliate her, had 
no thought but that of comforting the grief-stricken Due 
de Berry and of re-establishing the intimacy which had 
previously existed between them ; for, in the circum- 
stances, it was impossible for the kind-hearted Dauphine 
to cherish any resentment against this weak but amiable 
prince, who had been as wax in the hands of his strong- 
willed consort. And, since the reconciliation with the 
Due de Berry would be incomplete, if his wife were not 
included in it, the Dauphine decided to forget the past, 
the more readily since she appears to have regarded the 
machinations of her sister-in-law rather as the caprices of a 
spoiled child — such as she herself had been at the same 
age — than the carefully-matured plans of one who was 
already a woman in everything but years. 

The Due de Berry, who had never ceased to regret the 
interruption of the friendly relations between the two 
families, welcomed with delight the opportunity of their 
renewal ; the duchess pretended to do likewise, and shed 
an abundance of tears, which may have been of relief at 


her escape from a very precarious situation, but were 
certainly not of gratitude for the generosity extended to 
her. That generosity had, in fact, wounded her pride to 
the quick, for " she could not endure to be under obliga- 
tions to any one"; 1 and from that moment her hatred 
of her sister-in-law became more intense than ever. 

And, though she had good reason for congratulation in 
having thus escaped the consequences of her treachery 
and ingratitude, she found it very difficult to resign her- 
self to the changes which the death of Monseigneur 
had brought. During the lifetime of that prince, the 
Dues de Bourgogne and de Berry had been on a footing 
of equality, and, when the latter married, the same 
honours had been accorded to his wife as to the Duchesse 
de Bourgogne. Now, however, that the elder brother 
had become heir-apparent to the Crown, Louis XIV. 
decided that the difference in their respective positions and 
that of their wives must be clearly defined, and directed 
that at the Dauphin's lever the Due de Berry should hand 
him his shirt, and that at the Dauphine's toilette the 
Duchesse de Berry should hand her her chemise and the 
sale, a salver upon which their watches, rings, fans, and 
so forth were presented to the princesses. 

The Due de Berry raised no difficulty about this, but 
his wife was furious at being thus publicly placed in a 
position of inferiority to her sister-in-law, and vowed that 
nothing should induce her to undertake what she stigma- 
tised as a menial service, and that, if her husband con- 
sented so to debase himself, she should hold him hence- 
forth in the most supreme contempt. The Due de Berry 
endeavoured to reason with her, and was treated to such 

1 Saint-Simon. 


an avalanche of tears, threats, sobs, and reproaches that 
the poor prince, who had announced his intention of 
presenting himself on the following morning at the 
Dauphin's lever, did not dare to do so, from fear of 
an open rupture with his enraged consort. The Due 
d'Orleans, however, came to his son-in-law's succour, 
and, after further unpleasant scenes, the duchess yielded 
to the threat of a new scolding from the King, though it 
was not until several days later that she condescended to 
attend the Dauphine's toilette and perform the services 
required of her. The Duchesse de Bourgogne, only too 
anxious to live at peace with her sister-in-law, prudently 
refrained from any remark upon the latter's absence on 
previous occasions, and " acknowledged her services with 
all the grace imaginable and all the most natural marks 
of affection." 1 

The Duchesse de Berry cherished another grievance 
against the Bourgognes, on the subject of the division of 
the late Dauphin's property. 

With the exception of his two country-estates of 
Meudon and Chaville, both of which he had inherited 
from la Grande Mademoiselle, and a valuable collection of 
gems and curios, Monseigneur had left little behind him. 
The gems and curios, part of which, however, had to be 
sold to defray the deceased prince's debts, which were 
considerable, were divided between the King of Spain 
and the Due de Berry ; while the landed property fell to 
the share of the Due de Bourgogne. 

Now, since she and the Due de Berry did not as yet 
possess any private residence of their own, the duchess 
had set her heart on her husband becoming the owner of 

1 Saint-Simon. 


Meudon, where she saw herself reigning as a sort of 
queen ; and she gave him no rest until he had consented 
to do everything in his power to gratify her desire. The 
generous Dauphin would, it appears, have been quite 
willing to surrender Meudon to his brother ; but the 
King, who feared that it would entail the creation of a 
new Court, which would be extremely undesirable, both on 
the score of expense and for other reasons, refused to hear 
of it, and, by way of compensating his grandson for his 
disappointment, made him a present of some valuable dia- 
monds, some of which no doubt found their way into the 
Duchesse de Berry's jewel-case. That princess, however, 
refused to be consoled, and, though the Bourgognes had 
been quite innocent of offence in the matter, she could not 
bring herself to forgive them their possession of Meudon. 

The Bourgognes were not the only persons who had 
the misfortune to incur the resentment of the Duchesse 
de Berry about this time. The atrocious rumours con- 
cerning the relations between the Due d'Orleans and his 
eldest daughter which had been current at the time of 
the latter's marriage had not ceased with that event, 
though during the alliance between the Duchesse de Berry 
and Madame la Duchesse little had been heard of them. 
Now, however, the younger princess had made her peace 
with the common enemy, and she and Madame la Duchesse 
had ceased to be allies, with the result that these 
abominable reports had revived, and become so persistent 
that they had even reached the Due de Berry. 

Let us at once observe that no serious historian has 
ever attached any importance to such an accusation. 
The affection which united father and daughter almost 
from the latter's infancy had a very touching and a very 


natural foundation ; and the unfortunate similitude of 
tastes and character which existed between them — their 
inordinate love of good cheer, their fondness for dissolute 
company, their utter lack of moral sense — bound them 
closer together. However, the public does not reason, 
and easily allows itself to be made the dupe of slanders 
disseminated by those in high places ; and already, 
thanks to the malignity of Madame la Duchesse and her 
friends, the fact that the Due d'Orleans happened to be 
just then more assiduous than ever in his attentions to 
his beloved daughter, and in the habit of spending several 
hours every day in her company, was beginning to cause 
tongues to wag very busily. If, however, their owners 
had but paused for reflection, they would have remem- 
bered that, since the Duchesse de Berry was now enceinte 
and condemned to an enforced indolence very galling to 
one of her restless nature and active habits, not only the 
chase and all outdoor amusements, but even the card- 
table, being forbidden by her physicians, it was the most 
natural thing in the world for her father to desire to 
console her ennui. 

The Due de Berry was greatly distressed by these 
abominable rumours, without, however, believing them. 
At the same time, he could not help remarking the length 
and frequency of the visits paid by the Due d'Orleans to 
his wife, and complained of the impossibility of enjoying 
even an hour of her society without the risk of being 
interrupted by the arrival of her too-affectionate father. 
His complaints reached the ears of Saint-Simon, who had 
already observed, he tells us, the ill-concealed impatience 
which the continual presence of the Due d'Orleans in 
the young princess's apartments was regarded by her 


husband, and had endeavoured, though without success, 
to prevail upon his friend to moderate his paternal 
assiduity. He now believed it to be his duty to return 
to the charge much more energetically, and to acquaint 
the Due d'Orleans with the reports that were current, " in 
order to prevent a quarrel between son-in-law and father- 
in-law, based upon so false and so odious a foundation." 

" M. d'Orleans was astonished," he writes ; "he cried 
out against the horror of so abominable an imputation 
and the villainy that had carried it to the Due de Berry. 
He thanked me for having warned him of it, a service 
which few besides myself would have rendered him ; and 
I left him to draw the proper and natural conclusion as 
to the line of conduct it behoved him to pursue." 

Saint-Simon, of course, never for a moment imagined 
that the Due d'Orleans would say anything of what had 
passed between them ; but that prince was quite incapable 
of keeping a secret from his daughter, and lost no time 
in relating to her the whole conversation. The same 
evening, after supper, the duchess summoned Madame de 
Saint-Simon into her wardrobe, and, " with a cold and 
angry air," expressed her astonishment that her husband 
should be endeavouring to stir up a quarrel between the 
Due d'Orleans and herself. The dame d'honneur assured 
her that she must have been misinformed ; but the 
princess rejoined that it was only too true, and thereupon 
repeated every word that Saint-Simon had said to her 
father. Madame de Saint-Simon, though much surprised, 
did not lose the calm and dignified manner which she 
invariably assumed towards her wayward mistress. She 
replied with firmness that this horrible report was public ; 
that her Royal Highness could herself perceive what 


disastrous consequences would follow, false and abomin- 
able as it might be, and appreciate the importance of 
the Due d'Orleans being at once informed of it. She 
added that her husband had given so many proofs of his 
attachment for both the duke and herself that his motives 
were above suspicion. With which she curtsied and 
retired, leaving the princess to her own reflections. 

Saint-Simon was so angry at this gross breach of con- 
fidence on the part of the Due d'Orleans that for a while 
he ceased to visit both him and the Duchesse de Berry, 
though they " cajoled him with all kinds of excuses and 
apologies." Eventually, however, they were reconciled, 
and he and the duke became as firm friends as ever, 
though on the understanding that there should be no 
question of the Duchesse de Berry between them. In- 
deed, from that time forth, he tells us, he kept aloof from 
the princess as much as possible and only visited her for 
form's sake. 

On July 21, 1711, at Fontainebleau, the Duchesse de 
Berry gave birth prematurely to a daughter, who only 
lived two days. For this contretemps the senile tyranny of 
Louis XIV. was indirectly responsible, as it had been for 
the miscarriage of the Duchesse de Bourgogne at Marly, 
three years before. Although the doctors had warned 
the King that it would be imprudent for the princess 
to travel to Fontainebleau, and the Due de Berry, Madame 
de Maintenon, and Madame had begged him to allow her 
to remain behind, he insisted on her following the Court ; 
and the only concession that they were able to obtain 
was permission for her to make the journey by water. 

Singularly enough, while insisting on the unfortunate 
Duchesse de Berry taking a serious and wholly unneces- 


sary risk merely to gratify his desire to have all his 
relatives in attendance upon him, his Majesty issued the 
most stringent orders as to the precautions which she was 
to observe in Paris, while waiting for the barges required 
for the conveyance of herself and her suite to be made 
ready, and forbade her to quit the Palais-Royal, even to 
visit the Opera, where her box was on the same floor as 
her apartments. 

On July 15, the duchess embarked, in company with 
her father, and proceeded as far as Petit-Bourg, where the 
King was to pass the night. The journey, notwithstand- 
ing all the precautions taken, had tried her very much, 
and she arrived feeling exceedingly unwell. On the 
morrow, as her barge was passing under the bridge of 
Melun, it collided with one of the piers, and was very 
nearly swamped, much to the alarm of the duchess, who 
was compelled to make the remainder of the journey to 
Fontainebleau by road. She arrived in the middle of the 
night, utterly worn out, with the result which might have 
been anticipated. " As it was only a daughter," says 
Saint-Simon, '.' they consoled themselves, and the Due 
de Berry set them the example, for while the remains of 
his child were being carried to Saint-Denis, he was hunt- 
ing with the Dauphin." 

The Duchesse de Berry made a rapid recovery, and to- 
wards the end of August was permitted to follow the 
chase in an elegant little caleche which she had just had 
made for her ; while on September 7 she was able to 
mount her horse once more. For a few weeks the life of 
the young lady appears to have been relatively tranquil, 
but soon it became stormy again. 

This time the cause of the trouble was the princess's 


behaviour towards her mother, who was now beginning 
to realise that not even a great princess can afford to 
neglect her duty towards her children without some day 
being called upon to suffer for it. In default of more 
maternal sentiments, the Duchesse d'Orleans had always 
shown her eldest daughter much kindness and indulgence, 
which the latter repaid by treating her with the most 
mortifying coldness and hauteur, and allowing, as we 
have seen, no opportunity to slip of reminding her of the 
unfortunate circumstances of her birth. At length, she 
began to testify her antipathy in so marked a manner 
as to earn several sharp reprimands from the King, but 
these, so far from causing any improvement in her con- 
duct, seemed only to make her the more insolent and 
spiteful ; and Louis XIV. accordingly charged Madame 
to take her granddaughter in hand and endeavour to 
bring her to her senses. The old princess, who never 
shrank from reprimanding the young for their follies, 
and with whom the Duchesse de Berry was no favourite, 
readily accepted the commission, stipulating only that 
the King should warn the princess of the order that he 
had given. This request having been complied with, she 
sent for the Duchesse de Berry and her parents, and 
proceeded to give her a piece of her mind. 

The delinquent " shed warm tears and promised re- 
peatedly to reform " ; and, as Madame, by the King's 
desire, continued to bestow upon her periodical admoni- 
tions, for a while there appears to have been some slight 
improvement. " The pupil whom they have entrusted 
to my care," writes the old princess, under date November 
15, 171 1, " conducts herself better now, thanks be to God, 
and profits by my lectures. God grant that it may last [ " 


But it is evident that there was still ample room for 
amendment, since Madame tells us, in the same letter, 
that she had had occasion to reprimand her grand- 
daughter for " drinking too much, for making wry faces 
at the King, for ill-using her husband, for living on bad 
terms with the Dauphine, for attacking every one to their 
faces, for being discourteous, and for other like things." 

Madame continued to lecture the Duchesse de Berry 
for some three months, but, though the latter appeared 
to receive the grandmaternal admonitions in a duly con- 
trite spirit, and for a few days behaved as though she 
was sincere in her professions of penitence, they in reality 
produced not the smallest effect upon her, and her con- 
duct, particularly towards her mother, soon became as 
reprehensible as ever. Nor was this at all surprising, 
since she had lately bestowed her confidence upon one of 
her waiting-women, a certain Mile, de Vienne, a bold and 
unprincipled young woman, whose mother had been 
nurse to Philippe d'Orleans, and who had perhaps not 
escaped the favours of that prince. This Mile, de Vienne 
would seem to have cherished a grudge against the 
Duchesse d'Orleans; any way, she laboured to set the 
duke at variance with his wife, and the Duchesse de Berry 
with her mother, and was only too successful. Finally, 
at the beginning of January 1712, these family dissen- 
sions occasioned a regular scandal, which showed Madame 
that she might just as well have spared her breath for 
all the good her long-winded reprimands had done her 
wilful granddaughter. 

The Due d'Orleans happened to possess a very beautiful 
diamond necklace, which had been given to his father by 
Anne of Austria, and with which the Duchesse d'Orleans 


loved to adorn herself. With the twofold object of 
gratifying her vanity and annoying her mother, the 
Duchesse de Berry conceived the idea of getting temporary 
possession of this resplendent bauble and wearing it at a 
grand ball which was to be given by the Chancellor, 
Pontchartrain. Although sure of meeting with a refusal, 
she applied to her mother, in whose jewel-case it reposed, 
for the loan of it, and when she received the answer 
anticipated, retorted insolently that the necklace be- 
longed to her father and that she could easily persuade 
him to give it her. In point of fact, Philippe d'Orleans 
had the incredible weakness to surrender to his daughter's 
caprice ; and the Duchesse de Berry wore the coveted 
diamonds at the Pontchartrain ball and at other New 
Year festivities. 

But her triumph was of very brief duration, for the 
Duchesse d'Orleans complained bitterly of her daughter's 
insufferable insolence, and found, on this occasion, a firm 
support in Madame, who repaired to the King's cabinet, 
and acquainted his Majesty with what had occurred. 
" Those who saw her come out," writes Dangeau, " say 
that she had tears in her eyes, but that they do not 
concern her, and that it is a question of some difference 
between the Duchesse de Berry and the Duchesse 
d'Orleans, her mother. What confirms people in this 
opinion, is that the two have been seen together at Mass 
in the loge of the tribune, and that they did not seem 
pleased with one another, and that in the evening the 
Duchesse d'Orleans was observed to enter Madame de 
Maintenon's apartment, where the King was, and where 
she remained rather a long time." 1 

1 Journal, January 7, 1712. 


The King, we are told, was exceedingly annoyed and 
spoke of adopting very severe measures to bring his grand- 
daughter to reason. The latter, who had developed a 
diplomatic chill and betaken herself to bed, recognising 
that this time she had gone altogether too far, became 
decidedly alarmed, and suffered herself to be persuaded 
by the Dauphine, though not until after several long dis- 
cussions, to apologise to her indignant mother. On the 
morrow, accordingly, she repaired, in an apparently very 
chastened mood, to the apartments of the Duchesse 
d'Orleans, where a formal reconciliation took place 
between mother and daughter. " The Duchesse de 
Berry," continues Dangeau, " spoke to her [the Duchesse 
d'Orleans] with much affection and deference, praying 
her very earnestly to give her all her counsels, as though 
she were still her daughter, and asserting that it had 
always been her intention to do well and that she would 
do still better in the future ; and that, if she had com- 
mitted any wrong, she must pardon a person of her age. 
The Duchesse d'Orleans embraced her very tenderly, and 
promised to set her right with the King." 

The King, however, was not so easily placated as the 
Duchesse d'Orleans, and insisted on the instant dismissal 
of Mile, de Vienne, to whose pernicious counsels this un- 
seemly family quarrel was generally attributed. Nor 
would he allow the offender to present herself before him, 
until Madame had interceded for her, and represented 
that the dismissal of the waiting-woman, to whom his 
granddaughter was greatly attached, was a sufficient 

The Duchesse de Berry was therefore permitted to 
resume her place at the King's supper-table, but she was 



quite unable to conceal her resentment at the disgrace 
of her favourite, and though her mother, to appease her, 
surrendered the diamond necklace, the immediate cause 
of all the trouble, she continued in a most unamiable 
humour. For not only had the enforced separation from 
Mile, de Vienne wounded her both in her pride and her 
affections, but she had found that the scandal which she 
had so wantonly provoked, and the manner in which the 
King had manifested his displeasure, had sadly diminished 
her prestige at the Court, and that people were no longer 
disposed to treat her with the deference she considered 
her due. Thus, having on the death of her first equerry, 
the Marquis de Razilly, had the imprudence to promise 
the vacant post both to the Chevalier de la Rochefoucauld- 
Roye and the Marquis de Levis, she had the still greater 
imprudence to pass them both over and confer it upon a 
third candidate, the Comte de Sainte-Maure. The cheva- 
lier and the marquis were naturally exceedingly indignant 
at such treatment, and their respective wives still more 
so ; indeed, the latter went so far as to express their dis- 
satisfaction to the princess in most disrespectful terms. 
The Duchesse de Berry was furious ; but, since she was 
well aware that neither the King nor Madame de Main- 
tenon would pay any attention to her complaints, she 
was compelled to stomach their insolence as best she 
might, although Madame de Levis, who was a daughter 
of the Due de Chevreuse, emboldened by impunity, ended 
by even daring to make faces at her. 

However, shortly afterwards, Death again intervened 
to change the situation of the princess, this time alto- 
gether to her advantage. 


Successive deaths of the Dauphine, the Dauphin, and the little Due de 
Bretagne — Joy of the Duchesse de Berry — Altered situation of the 
princess, who, by the death of her sister-in-law, becomes the first 
lady of the Court — Lively passage-at-arms between her and Madame 
— She becomes pregnant : rigorous precautions insisted upon by 
the King — Cruel disappointment which she inflicts upon the old 
Marechal de Bezons — She gives birth to a son, who, however, does 
not long survive — She gains the favour of the King, and her position 
becomes a very enviable one — Her relations with her husband — 
Intrigue between the Due de Berry and one of his wife's waiting- 
women — Compact between the prince and princess, which leaves 
them both free to follow their own inclinations — Violent passion of 
the Duchesse de Berry for her husband's first equerry, La Haye — 
She endeavours to persuade him to carry her off to the Netherlands 
— Accident to the Due de Berry — His illness and death — Exag- 
gerated grief affected by his widow — Birth of a posthumous 
daughter — Indulgence of Louis XIV. for the duchess during the 
last months of his life. 

THE autumn of 171 1 had been very wet, and was 
followed by a severe winter. A malignant type 
of measles — called by the Faculty, " rougeole pour pre " — 
broke out in Paris and at Versailles, and claimed many 
victims. On the evening of February 5, 1712, a few 
days after the return of the Court from a visit to Marly, 
the Dauphine, who had of late been suffering much from 
toothache and rheumatism, and had, besides, severely 
taxed her strength and rendered herself particularly liable 
to infection by refusing to take the precautions her state 
of health required, was taken ill. Her malady soon 
developed symptoms which completely puzzled the 
physicians who attended her ; in spite of all their efforts, 
she grew steadily worse, and on February 12 she died, 
at the early age of twenty-six. 1 " With her," says 

1 For a full account of the death of the Dauphine and of her husband, 
see the author's A Rose of Savoy (London, Methuen ; New York, 
Scribners, 1909). 



Saint-Simon, "departed joy, pleasure, and everything 
gracious ; and darkness brooded over the Court. She 
had been its life, and, if it survived her, it was only to 
languish. Never was princess so regretted ; never was 
one more worthy of regret." 

The grief of the Court was not shared by the Duchesse 
de Berry. In losing her sister-in-law, she had lost the 
only person at the Court who entertained for her a sin- 
cere friendship and was always ready to make allow- 
ance for her faults ; but, so far from appreciating the 
rare qualities of this good and amiable princess, she was 
unable to dissimulate her joy at seeing herself delivered 
from " one greater and more beloved than herself," 1 
and at becoming, in her stead, the first lady in the land. 
Nor was her satisfaction lessened when the Dauphin 
(February 18) and his eldest son, the little Due de Bre- 
tagne (March 8), followed the Dauphine to the grave, 
leaving only the aged King and the infant Due d'Anjou 
between the Due de Berry and the Crown of France. 

As the first lady in the kingdom, and likely to remain 
so for many a long year to come, it was no longer possible 
for the Duchesse de Berry to be kept in the kind of 
semi-disgrace to which she had been relegated for some 
time past. Louis XIV. had perforce to treat her more 
graciously, though he charged Madame to continue her 
admonitions ; and the Court naturally followed suit. 
She now held a cercle of her own, newcomers to the 
Court were presented to her, and the Ambassadors re- 
ceived in public audience ; she presided with her husband 
at the gaming-tables in the salon ; and the King felt 
it necessary to excuse himself from inviting her to ride 

1 Saint- Simon. 

Elizabeth Charlotte of Bavaria, Duchesse d'Orleans 


From the painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud, at Versailles 
(Photo by W. A. Mansell & Co.) 


in his caliche, on the ground that they were both a little 
too stout for so small a carriage to hold them comfortably. 

All this was, of course, very gratifying to the vanity 
of the princess, and, for a while, she appears to have 
become quite amiable, even going the length of giving 
a supper-party in her mother's honour one evening at 
Fontainebleau. But this improvement does not appear 
to have lasted very long, for at the beginning of the 
following October, Madame, after a particularly lively 
passage of arms with the young lady, pronounces her to 
be " more foolish and more impertinent than ever." 

" Yesterday," her grandmother continues, " she tried 
to snub me, but I gave her a piece of my mind. She 
came to me, sumptuously adorned, in full Court toilette, 
with fourteen poincons of the most beautiful diamonds 
imaginable. She looked well enough, except that she 
had put twelve patches on her face, which were horribly 
unsuited to her. When she came before me, I said to her : 
' Madame, you look splendid, but it seems to me that you 
have too many patches, and they do not give you a very 
distinguished air. You are the first lady in this land, 
and your position requires rather more gravity than to 
wear patches like an actress on the stage.' She made 
a wry face and said : ' I know you don't care for patches 
and that they displease you, but I like them, and I in- 
tend to please nobody but myself.' ' That is an error,' 
I said to her, ' which is due to your extreme youth, 
for, rather than please yourself, you ought to think of 
pleasing the King.' ' Oh ! ' said she, ' the King gets 
accustomed to anything ; and, as for me, I have made 
up my mind not to bother myself about anything, and 
not to care about anything.' I laughed and said : ' With 


such sentiments one can go far. Listen. When I tell 
you my opinion, I do so for your own good, because I 
am obliged to as your grandmother, and because the 
King has ordered me. Otherwise, I should not say a 
word. To be silent is to be on the right side.' ' Yes,' 
said she, ' for speech won't do any good ; and won't 
prevent me from doing as I please.' ' So much the worse 
for you,' said I, ' but as all that I hear you say proceeds 
from the errors of youth, I hope you will change.' ' I 
am quite satisfied, and I don't intend to change.' ' It 
is not enough,' said I, ' to be satisfied with yourself ; it 
is necessary that every one should be satisfied with you.' 
Thereupon she got up. ' There is a little head,' said I, 
' which will give you a lot of trouble.' ' What do you 
mean by that ? ' she asked. ' You understand what I 
mean,' I replied ; ' and that's enough ; but, even if you 
don't, experience will soon enlighten you.' With that 
lesson she took her departure. You see with what a 
mad creature we have to deal. In the evening, I related 
all that had passed to her father, adding that he must 
make his daughter clearly understand in what manner 
she ought to speak to me ; that I had been patient this 
time, but that I could not be sure of being always so, 
and that I might well complain to the King of the way 
in which she had received my admonitions. My son was 
frightened ; he begged me to say nothing, and promised 
to reprimand her sharply." 

We can imagine how much effect a reprimand from her 
doting father would be likely to have upon the Duchesse 
de Berry, who, Saint-Simon tells us, was in the habit of 
" treating him like a negro," when she happened to be 
in one of her tantrums. Moreover, as she was now ae-ain 


in an interesting condition, the Due d'Orleans no doubt 
considered that it would be imprudent to do anything to 
agitate her, so that, if the promised reproof were adminis- 
tered at all, it must have been of the mildest possible kind. 

The successive deaths of the Due de Bourgogne and 
the little Due de Bretagne had invested the pregnancy 
of the Duchesse de Berry with an importance which it 
would not otherwise have possessed; and Louis XIV., 
who ardently desired to see the succession to the throne 
in the direct line secured against all possibility of failure, 
insisted that the most rigorous precautions should be 
taken to guard against a repetition of the accident of the 
previous year. So on Christmas Day — that is to say, 
three months before the princess expected her confinement 
— she was, greatly to her disgust, ordered to bed, and 
condemned to pass there the remainder of the time. 

Everything possible was done, however, to relieve the 
monotony of this captivity. The King came to see her 
every day ; the Due de Berry spent all his evenings with 
her ; card-parties took place every night in her bed- 
chamber, though they had orders to terminate punctually 
at half-past nine ; and on one occasion, as an unusual 
indulgence, she was permitted to entertain her friends 
to a medianoche, 1 at which a performance of marionettes 
was given. 

The selection of the ladies who were to superintend 
the education of the eagerly-expected child also provided 
the princess with some occupation ; and, incidentally, 
with the opportunity of inflicting a cruel disappointment 
on one of the most worthy men at the Court. 

1 A medianoche was a meat-supper which took place after mid- 
night on fast-days. 


The Marechal de Bezons, a gallant old soldier, who had 
served his King and country with distinction in every 
quarter of Europe, solicited the post of gouvernante to 
the future prince or princess for his wife. The marshal 
was far advanced in years and possessed but a scant} 1 ' 
fortune, and was therefore extremely anxious to assure 
his wife's future by securing for her so lucrative a charge. 
The Duchesse de Berry, whose pride was gratified by the 
prospect of having for her child's gouvernante the wife 
of so distinguished a soldier, received his request most 
graciously and hastened to accede to it ; and the marshal 
withdrew, satisfied that nothing remained but to obtain 
the consent of the King. But, almost at the same moment, 
she received an application for the post from one of 
her most intimate friends, the Marquis d'Antin, and 
her chevalier d'honneur, the Comte de Sainte-Maure, on 
behalf of the Marquise de Pompadour, a vain old woman, 
who was intoxicated with the desire to occupy at the 
Court an important position ; and, coolly ignoring the 
promise she had j ust given the marshal, acceded to this also. 

Poor Bezons, without seeing the princess again, went 
to obtain the King's consent ; but Madame de Pompa- 
dour had anticipated him, and his Majesty, while assuring 
him of how willingly he would have accorded it, told him 
that he had already conferred the post upon that lady. 
The old marshal, exasperated at the way he had been 
treated, sought out the Duchesse de Berry and expressed 
his opinion of her conduct with as much candour as 
Mesdames de Levis and de la Roye had employed, in 
similar circumstances, some months before ; but it is to 
be feared that the princess was already too insensible to 
shame to feel any remorse. 


About ten o'clock on the evening of March 25, 1713, 
while playing cards with some of her friends, the Duchesse 
de Berry felt the first pains of labour, and at four o'clock 
on the following morning, to the great joy of the King 
and her husband, she gave birth to a son, who received 
the title of Due d'Alencon. But their joy was soon turned 
to mourning, for the little prince was so small and feeble 
that from the first it was feared that he would not live ; 
and in the night of April 9-10, after several attacks of 
convulsions, he expired. 

To the credit of the Duchesse de Berry, it must be 
recorded that she showed a real tenderness for her little 
son, and two days before his death, when he was reported 
to be in a desperate state, she insisted on leaving her bed 
to go to him ; and the intervention of Louis XIV. was 
necessary to prevent this visit from being repeated. 

On the 17th, the body of the poor little prince was 
conveyed to Saint-Denis, by the Bishop of Sens, the 
bishop of the diocese, and Mesdames de Pompadour and 
de Vaudreuil, his gouvemante and sous-gouvernante. 1 His 
heart was taken to the Val-de-Grace. 

The recovery of the duchess was again a very rapid 
one, and by the beginning of June she had resumed her 
ordinary life, and was following the chase — her favourite 
diversion — with as much ardour as ever. Her position 
was now a distinctly enviable one, for Louis XIV., 
anxious to console her for her recent bereavement and 
for the three months' captivity which had preceded it, 
and to which, he hoped, it might soon be necessary for 

1 The Duchesse de Berry gave Madame de Pompadour a pension 
of 12,000 livres, and continued their salaries to all the servants chosen 
for her son. Whatever were her faults, she was generous enough in 
money matters. 


her to submit again, treated her with almost as much 
kindness and indulgence as he had shown the Duchesse 
de Bourgogne. On the occasion of the double betrothal 
of the Due de Bourbon to Mile, de Conti and of the 
Prince de Conti to Mile, de Bourbon, she appeared covered 
with all the Crown jewels, which the King had lent her, 
and which Dangeau declares to have been worth at this 
period more than eighteen million livres ; x she was given 
a suite of apartments for her own at Fontainebleau ; she 
sat by the King's side at the play ; and her caleche — a 
costly equipage gilded all over and with gold-mounted 
harness — followed his Majesty's closely in the chase. 

Nor was the Court oblivious to the fact that not only 
was she actually the first lady in the land, Madame de 
Maintenon not taking officially any rank, and high in 
favour with the King, but that only the life of a frail child 
intervened between her husband and the succession to 
the throne ; and those who had once almost ignored her 
were now the most assiduous in their homage. 

By the end of the year, the Duchesse de Berry, though 
she could never hope to fill the place which the late 
Dauphine had occupied in the affections of those around 
her, enjoyed in other respects very much the same posi- 
tion. Her salon had become the centre of the Court ; she 
wore the most extravagant toilettes, " her coiffure so 
filled with jewels that one could say without exaggera- 
tion that the eye was unable to endure their dazzling 
splendour"; 2 she gave the most sumptuous entertain- 
ments ; she went to the Fair of Saint-Laurent, threw 
money to the people in the streets, finished up with a 

1 Journal, July 8, 1713. 

2 Mercure, October 1713, cited by Barthelemy. 


supper at the Opera, to which she entertained a number 
of ladies, and returned to Marly, where the King then 
was, at five o'clock in the morning. And Louis XIV. 
uttered no word of protest and permitted her to do 
exactly as she pleased. It seemed, indeed, that she 
had not miscalculated when she had flippantly assured 
her indignant grandmother that the King " got accus- 
tomed to anything," and that she had " made up her mind 
to trouble herself about nothing." 

But, if the Duchesse de Berry had gained the favour 
of the King and the homage of the Court, she had lost 
the affection of her husband, though this, so far from 
occasioning her Royal Highness any regret, was regarded 
by her with distinct relief. 

The Due de Berry, as we have seen, had begun by 
falling very much in love with his wife and allowing him- 
self to be entirely dominated by her superior intelligence 
and strength of will ; and for the first two years of their 
married life he submitted meekly to the yoke, and con- 
tinued to adore her, notwithstanding her violent temper, 
her fantastic caprices, and her increasing indifference to 
himself. " The Due de Berry," writes Madame, under 
date May 21, 1712, " is very enamoured of his wife, who is 
unhappily not enamoured of him, and, although she be- 
haves better than she used to, I fear that she will become 
coquettish. She has a strong propensity in that direction." 

But even the patience of the most long-suffering and 
uxorious husband has its limits, and the Due de Berry 
would assuredly have been something more than human 
if his .wife had not succeeded in exhausting it. In every 
conceivable way she provoked and disgusted him. She 
ridiculed his piety, or rather his respect for religion, and 


made his strict observance of Lent and fast-days the 
subject of such biting jests that sometimes, to escape 
them, he would do violence to his conscience and partake 
of what the Church had forbidden. She interfered per- 
petually with the management of his Household, and 
forced him to dismiss persons whose services he valued, 
but against whom she happened to have some fancied 
grievance. " She partook of few meals in private at 
which she did not become so intoxicated as to lose 
consciousness, and the presence of the Due de Berry, of 
the Due and Duchesse d'Orleans, and of ladies with whom 
she was not on familiar terms, in no way restrained her. 
She even complained of the Due de Berry for not doing 
as she did." 1 Her temper, always violent, had become 
so volcanic that neither he nor her parents, " dared 
hazard the least contradiction, much less the least 
admonition," 2 from fear of provoking some distressing 
scene. And, finally, although the atrocious rumours 
concerning her relations with the Due d'Orleans, skilfully 
fostered by Madame la Duchesse and her friends, had 
become more persistent than ever and threatened to 
cause a terrible scandal, she stubbornly refused to take 
the only means of putting a stop to them, and the few 
hours she could spare from the chase, the toilette, and 
the gambling-table, which absorbed the greater part of 
her time, were given to her father. 

At length, her conduct became so intolerable that the 
poor man could endure it no longer. In one of his 
moments of vexation, he had " forgotten himself " with 
a waiting-woman of his wife, whom Madame describes 
as " swarthy and ugly," but who, nevertheless, pos- 

1 Saint- Simon. 2 J bid. 


sessed sufficient attractions to inspire in him a serious 
attachment. The Duchesse de Berry was not long in 
discovering what was in progress, but, instead of flying 
into one of her passions, she perceived in it a means of 
disembarrassing herself of a husband whose affection 
only wearied her and of securing the most complete 
liberty. She accordingly bided her time, and presently 
detected the duke and the femme de chambre in a situa- 
tion which rendered denial impossible. Then, without 
making any scene, she coolly proposed to her erring 
consort that henceforth, while living together, as they had 
at first, on amicable terms, he should go his own way 
and allow her to do the same, promising to behave as 
though she had not the least suspicion of his infidelity. 
If he did not agree to this, she threatened to complain 
to the King and to demand that his inamorata should be 
banished so far from the Court that " never for the rest 
of his life would he see her or hear her voice again." 1 

The Due de Berry accepted his wife's proposition, and 
from that time, with the exception of an occasion of 
which we shall presently speak, left her to follow her own 
inclinations ; while he continued to solace his leisure 
with her waiting- woman, whom he married early in 1713, 
with a handsome dowry, but on the condition that her 
husband should have no conjugal relations with her. 
" He died loving her," writes Madame, " and left her, 
like his wife, in an interesting condition. Madame de 
Berry, who was not in the least jealous, took care of both 
mother and child." 

Thus delivered from all possibility of surveillance on 

1 Lettres inedites de Madame, Duchesse d' Orleans (edit. Rolland), 
Letter of March 31, 171 7. 


the part of her husband, the Duchesse de Berry proceeded 
to indulge to the full that propensity for flirtation which 
Madame had already remarked in her. From flirtation 
she soon passed to a more serious kind of gallantry, and, 
after an intrigue with a M. de Salvert, an official of the 
Grande Ecurie, she fixed her affections on La Haye, first 
equerry to the duke, whom Saint-Simon describes as 
" tall, well-made, and a good horseman," but with " a 
sunburned face, which, besides, had never been handsome, 
a foppish and foolish manner, and little intelligence." 
Of this personage, for whom she purchased the office of 
first chamberlain to her husband, which entitled him 
to a place in the duke's carriage and at his table, the 
princess became most desperately enamoured ; and " the 
oglings in the salon at Marly were perceived by every one 
who happened to be there, since nothing restrained 
them." 1 Finally, so violent became her passion that 
she actually conceived the project of making him carry 
her off to the Netherlands. 

" La Haye was like to die with fright at this proposi- 
tion, which she herself made him, and she of the fury into 
which his objections threw her. From the most pressing 
entreaties she passed to all the invectives that rage could 
suggest, and which torrents of tears could allow her to pro- 
nounce. La Haye had to suffer her attacks — now tender, 
now furious. He was in the most mortal embarrass- 
ment." 2 

Despite the resistance of her lover, the princess clung 
to this mad idea for a long time, and tormented the un- 
happy equerry to such a degree with her tears, entreaties, 
reproaches and threats that he began most heartily to 

1 Saint- Simon. 2 Ibid. 


regret his so-called bonne fortune, and would fain have 
hidden himself from her, had he not feared that, in her 
rage at his disappearance, she would provoke a scandal 
which would render his return to Court for ever impossible. 
At length, either because she had recovered her senses, 
or in despair of overcoming his reluctance, she ceased to 
persecute him. But the liaison continued until the death 
of the Due de Berry and for some time afterwards. 

The loss of her husband's affection had troubled the 
Duchesse de Berry not at all ; but the loss of the poor 
man himself, which soon followed, was quite another 
matter, since it deprived her of the possibility, at this 
time far from a remote one, of ever becoming Queen of 

The almost incredible imprudence of the Due de Berry 
was the cause of his death. On Thursday, April 26, 
the Court being then at Marly, he went hunting with the 
King and the Elector of Bavaria. Recent rain had 
rendered the ground very treacherous, and, in the course 
of the chase, his horse slipped and nearly came down. 
He pulled him up sharply, and, as the animal recovered 
his feet, " the pommel of the saddle struck the Due de 
Berry between the chest and the stomach." 

" He felt at once a sharp pain," contiuues Madame, "but 
he said nothing. The same evening, he spat blood, and 
forbade his valet de chambre to speak of it. He thought 
he had dysentery, and did not wish to say anything, from 
fear of being made to swallow a heap of remedies. He 
hoped that it would pass away. Friday, he began to feel 
unwell, but he said that it was only a slight indisposition. 
Saturday, he went to the chase. The same day, a peasant, 
who had witnessed the blow which the prince had re- 


ceived, inquired of one of the King's gentlemen : ' How 
is the Due de Berry ? ' ' Very well,' replied the other, 
' for he has gone wolf -hunting to-day.' ' If he is well 
then,' said the peasant, ' princes must have stronger 
bones than we peasants, since I saw him receive a blow 
during the chase on Thursday that would have split open 
three of us.' " 1 

On the following Monday morning (April 30), though 
feeling far from well, the Due de Berry rose at an early 
hour to attend the King's lever, after which he intended 
to go stag-hunting ; but, on leaving the royal chamber, 
he was seized with a violent fit of shivering, which 
obliged him to retire to bed. He was soon in a high fever, 
and though in the evening he was bled in the foot, this 
afforded him no relief, and he passed a very bad night. 
At seven o'clock the next morning, he was again bled, 
but the fever continued to increase ; and when, after 
Mass, Louis XIV. came to see his grandson, the doctors, 
contrary to their usual custom in the case of royal patients, 
made no attempt to disguise their uneasiness. 

It should be remarked that the Due de Berry had as yet 
said not a word about the accident of the previous Thurs- 
day ; and when, later in the day, the doctors proposed 
to administer emetics, he offered no objection to taking 
them. These must undoubtedly have destroyed any 
chance of ultimate recovery which the unfortunate prince 
might have possessed. 

The Due de Berry again passed a very restless night, 
and in the morning was bled for the third time. Early 

1 Letter of May 6, 1714, Lettres inediles de la Princesse Palatine 
(edit. Rolland). We have transcribed these details, since Saint-Simon 
tells us that the death of the Due de Berry gave rise to the most sinister 
suspicions, which he himself appears to have shared. 


in the forenoon, the duchess, who was once more in an 
interesting condition and had been obliged to remain 
at Versailles, sent her chevalier d'honnear, Coetenfao, to 
beg the King to allow Chirac, the favourite physician of 
the Due d'Orleans, to come to Marly. 1 But Louis XIV. 
refused, observing that all the doctors in attendance on 
the prince were of the same opinion, and that a new- 
comer, who might differ from them, would only create 
embarrassment. After dinner, the princess sent Mesdames 
de Pompadour and de la Vieuville, ' to demand his 
Majesty's permission for her to come herself to Marly," 
since she was unable to endure the anxiety she was 
suffering, and would come on foot rather than not come 
at all." The King replied that, if the Duchesse de Berry 
arrived, he would not close the door against her, but that 
it would be very imprudent for her to come. And he 
charged the Due and Duchesse d'Orleans to go to Ver- 
sailles and persuade their daughter to renounce her 
project. This they did, and, " after the review [of the 
Gardes du Corps], while the King was changing his 
dress, the Due d'Orleans came to tell him that the 
Duchesse de Berry had finally surrendered to his en- 

1 Madame relates an amusing anecdote of this personage, who, 
during the Mississippi " boom " some years later, contracted the specu- 
lative fever in a rather virulent form : " Dr. Chirac was summoned 
to the bedside of a sick lady. Whilst he was with her, some one re- 
marked that the shares [of Law's bank] were going down. The doctor, 
who held a great many shares, was so much disturbed that, even when 
feeling his patient's pulse, he kept muttering to himself : ' Going down, 
down, down ! ' Hearing this, the sick woman began weeping and 
lamenting : ' Alas ! ' said she, ' I am surely dying. M. Chirac, when 
feeling my pulse, whispered, " Going down, down, down ! " ' The 
doctor, aroused from his reverie, looked up, on hearing this, and said, 
' You are dreaming ; your pulse is regular, and you will soon be quite 
well. I was thinking of the Mississippi shares, which are going down 
in price.' Thus, he reassured the sick lady." 



treaties and his counsels, and that she would not come. 
The King again charged M. d'Orleans to go to Versailles, 
to sustain her in this prudent resolution." 1 

The truth is that the Due de Berry did not wish to see 
his wife, and, according to Saint-Simon, during his last 
illness, " he never once mentioned her name, or spoke 
of her, even indirectly." Notwithstanding the compact 
between them of which we have spoken, fresh quarrels 
had arisen, owing perhaps to the almost public manner in 
which the duchess had proclaimed her infatuation for 
La Haye, but, more probably, to the duke's disgust at 
the rumours which the maladroit attentions of his father- 
in-law were provoking. Any way, there had recently 
been a most violent scene at Rambouillet, in which the 
duchess " received a kick . . . and the threat that she 
should be shut up in a convent for the rest of her life ; and 
when the Due de Berry fell ill, he was thumbing his hat, 
like a child, before the King, relating all his grievances, and 
asking him to deliver him from the Duchesse de Berry." 2 

The night of May 2-3 was even worse than those which 
had preceded it, and, in the morning, although the Due 
de Berry still remained silent about his accident, the 
doctors were unanimously of opinion that he had rup- 
tured a vein in the stomach. 3 The nausea, which had 
been a marked feature of his illness from the first, and 
had given rise to the suspicions of which Saint-Simon 
speaks, ceased about nine o'clock ; but the patient was 
no better ; and the King, who had intended to hunt that 
day, countermanded his carriage. 

1 Dangeau, Journal, May 2, 1714. 2 Saint-Simon. 

3 Saint- Simon. But Dangeau says that the Faculty had arrived 
at this conclusion on the morning of the 2nd. 


Towards evening, the prince was moved from his bed 
into an arm-chair, as he was unable to breathe in a re- 
cumbent position. This appears to have relieved him 
greatly, and when, shortly after eight o'clock, Madame 
and the Duchesse d'Orleans visited the sick-room, they 
found him quite cheerful and convinced that the worst 
was over. " He believed," writes the elder princess, 
" that he was out of danger, and said to me, with a 
laugh : ' For the present, Madame, I think I may tell 
you that I am saved ; I have no more fever and no longer 
feel ill.' Then he called out in a loud voice : ' Give a 
chair to Madame and a seat to Madame d'Orleans, and 
let us talk.' ' Certainly not,' I replied, ' talking might 
bring back the fever : do not talk so much.' While still 
chatting, he was seized with a violent attack of hic- 
coughs, and he spoke with difficulty, since he was scarcely 
able to breathe. Madame d'Orleans, who thought that 
he was really out of danger, was astonished to see me, 
as we left the room, with tears in my eyes. She inquired 
why I was crying. ' Eh, mon Dieu, Madame ! ' I replied, 
' can you not see, from his breathing, his voice, and that 
hiccough, that the prince is dying.' She would not 
believe me, but she saw afterwards that I had spoken 
only too truly." 1 

In point of fact, scarcely had the two princesses left 
him, than the Due de Berry had an alarming relapse, 
and his confessor, Pere de la Rue, felt obliged to warn 
him that the time had come when he ought to think of 
receiving the Viaticum. " Very far from offering any 
objection," says Dangeau, " he expressed a desire to 

1 Lettres inidites de la Princesse Palatine (edit. Rolland), Letter 
of May 6, 1714. 


do so, and, a little after ten o'clock, the King went to the 
chapel, where, since the beginning of the malady, a con- 
secrated Host had been kept in readiness. The Viaticum 
and the holy oils were brought to the Due de Berry ; and 
the King remained nearly an hour in his chamber, and 
saw him receive the Holy Sacrament, which he did with 
much devotion and respect. . . . The Due d'Orleans 
went two hours after midnight to Versailles, to see the 
Duchesse de Berry, who had been desirous of coming 
here all day." 1 

At four o'clock next morning (Thursday, May 4), the 
Due de Berry expired, in his twenty-eighth year. Shortly 
before the end, he related to Pere de la Rue the accident 
which had happened to him the previous week, and 
which — or rather its concealment — had had such fatal 
consequences ; " but," observes Dangeau, " his mind 
was already beginning to wander." " When he had lost 
the power of speech," the chronicler continues, " he took 
the crucifix which his confessor placed in his hand, kissed 
it, and laid it on his heart. He died with much firmness 
and religion." 2 

The same day, while Louis XIV. was driving in the 
forest, the body of the deceased prince was removed, in 
one of his own carriages, to the Tuileries, escorted by the 
officers of his Household and his guards. Saint-Simon, 
in his notes to Dangeau's Journal, comments severely on 
this indecent haste, and declares that " in a private house 
people would have been ashamed to have the body of 
a servant carried away so precipitately so few hours after 
his death." The obsequies were celebrated at Saint-Denis 
on the 16th. The Due d'Orleans was to have headed the 

1 Journal, May 3, 1714. 2 j^ #> M ay 5 I7I4 


procession, but the same odious reports against him as 
had been circulated at the time of the death of the Due 
and Duchesse de Bourgogne had again appeared, and he 
begged to be excused. His request was granted, and 
Monsieur le Due 1 took his place. 

On the day of the Due de Berry's death, Madame went 
to Versailles to pay a visit of condolence to the widow. She 
found the bereaved princess in a state of such pitiable dis- 
tress that she was moved with compassion and shed copious 
tears, although she must have had a shrewd suspicion 
that it was not so much her lost husband as her lost 
ambitions that the lady was bewailing. " From the 
woman the most happy in the world," she writes, " she 
is going to become the most miserable, if she does not 
have a son." And she adds : " She believes firmly that 
she will only have a daughter." 2 

The Duchesse de Berry continued to affect the most 
exaggerated grief for the husband to whom she had been 
so utterly indifferent. She shut herself up in her bed- 
chamber, and caused the room to be draped in black 
and the shutters to be closed. When the King came 
to visit her, one of them was partly opened, so that there 
might be sufficient light to guide his footsteps, but this 
concession was made only for him ; and all who came to 
condole with her found themselves in complete dark- 
ness." " This," says Saint-Simon, " gave rise to many 
ridiculous scenes and rather indecent laughter, which 
could not be restrained. Persons accustomed to the 
room could find their way, but those who were not 

1 Louis Henri, Due de Bourbon, Prince de Conde. 

2 Lettres inidites de la Princesse Palatine (edit. Rolland), Letter 
of May 6, 1714. 


stumbled at every step and required guidance. For 
want of this, Pere Trevoux, and Pere Le Tellier after him, 
both addressed their compliments to the wall ; others 
to the foot of the bed. This became a secret amusement, 
but happily did not last long." 

In fact, after about three weeks of this pretended 
despair, the duchess, having decided that she had paid 
a sufficiently touching tribute to her husband's memory, 
and atoned, in the eyes of the King and the Court, for 
any shortcomings while he was alive, was ready to face 
the light of day once more. Louis XIV., to testify his 
appreciation of such an example of conjugal devotion, 
increased her pension by 200,000 livres, so that she now 
found herself in possession of an income of over 650,000 
livres, which, however, was to be hard put to stand 
the strain of her luxurious and extravagant mode of 

Notwithstanding the most elaborate precautions, to 
which, on this occasion, the Duchesse de Berry sub- 
mitted willingly enough, since she knew how much the 
birth of a son would mean to her, the event once more 
took place before its time (June 16), when she was de- 
livered, not of the hoped-for prince, but of a daughter, 
who only survived a few hours. 

The princess was for a day or two seriously ill, but she 
was soon convalescent, and, though the knowledge that 
she could never now become the mother of a possible 
King of France distressed her not a little, her situation 
was still a very enviable one. The King, anxious to 
console her for her disappointment, overwhelmed her 
with favours and presents. He paid the greater part of 
the debts which she and the Due de Berry had con- 

Marie Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans, Duchesse he Berry, 
in widow'- weeds 

From the painting by Louis de Silvestre, at Versailles 
(Photo by W. A. Mansell & Co.) 


tractcd during their married life; 1 gave her all the 
furniture and jewels which had belonged to her husband, 
and accorded her a favour to which she attached great 
importance, namely, that of having a company of twelve 
guards, to escort her when she drove out in her carriage 
and to keep watch and ward in her apartments. ' I do 
not consider her [the Duchesse de Berry] unhappy, 
although she is without child or husband," writes 
Madame, a few weeks after her granddaughter's confine- 
ment. " She has a rank more elevated than that to 
which she would have been able to aspire ; she has 
250,000 livres of revenue more than I have ; she is 
then very rich, and her Household is not more consider- 
able than mine, which gives her more than she requires. 
She is young, in good health, so beloved by her father 
and mother 2 that they do everything that she wishes ; 
and she possesses all the most beautiful things that one 
can have in jewellery. I cannot divine in what way she 
can be unhappy. If she were Queen, she would only be 
subject to more constraint." 

The Duchesse de Berry was very far from being un- 
happy. During the year of mourning which etiquette 
prescribed, she was, of course, unable to appear at any 
Court function, but, in other respects, she behaved as if 
no change had occurred in her life ; gambling, gossiping, 
and feasting with her friends, hunting either in her 
caliche or on horseback, and spending more time than 
ever in the company of her father, whom she frequently 

1 These debts, according to Dangeau, exceeded half a million livres, 
of which Louis XIV. paid 400,000 livres. 

s The Duchesse d'Orleans, as Madame was well aware, certainly 
did not love her eldest daughter ; but probably the writer did not 
consider it prudent to mention the fact. 


entertained to dinner or supper, on which occasions they 
both seem to have eaten and drunk a good deal more than 
was good for them. 1 On the very day on which her year 
of mourning terminated, Louis XIV., who, deprived of 
all his family, had no one but her to give a little youth 
and animation to his Court, made her lay aside her 
widow's weeds, which, in accordance with custom, she 
should have worn for yet another six weeks, and pre- 
side over the gaming-tables in the salon at Marly ; and 
from that time until his death, four months later, she 
enjoyed a degree of favour never surpassed, save in the 
case of the Duchesse de Bourgogne. Madame de Main- 
tenon, who, in the past, had felt obliged to admonish 
the duchess very severely on more than one occasion, 
appeared to share his Majesty's partiality, and, according 
to Dangeau, " people were persuaded that they were very 
satisfied with one another, and that Madame de Main- 
tenon had found much intelligence in this princess." 
The fact is that the unrecognised consort of Louis XIV., 
aware that the King's days were numbered, was anxious 
to secure the protection of the Due d'Orleans, and had 
decided that the best means to conciliate him was by 
caressing his adored daughter. 

The Duchesse de Berry took full advantage of the 
indulgence extended to her, and, during the last weeks 
of the reign, throned it like a veritable queen. She 
presided at all the fetes ; she accompanied the King 
wherever he went, followed by a regular Court of ladies, 

1 Writing on December 2, 1714, Madame relates that she had 
suffered " a fright so terrible that she had not yet recovered," owing 
to a sudden illness of the Due d'Orleans, the result of " having eaten 
like a wolf at his daughter's, and drunk still more, as was his invariable 
custom there." 


whom she selected herself, and she obtained the signal 
privilege of having four dames de compagnie of her own, 
each of whom received a salary of 4000 livres, paid by 
the King. 1 Old courtiers marvelled at the complaisance 
of Louis XIV., hitherto so intolerant of the least devia- 
tion from his wishes, when they saw him modify the 
programme of amusements he had drawn up during a 
visit to Marl} 7 to gratify the caprice of his granddaughter, 
and not less at the temerity of that princess in venturing 
to suggest the alteration. Even the Duchesse de Bour- 
gogne would scarcely have ventured to take such a 

But, notwithstanding the indulgence which both the 
King and Madame de Maintenon now showed her, the 
princess never succeeded in altogether conquering the fear 
with which they had formerly inspired her, and was so 
embarrassed in their presence that people could not fail 
to perceive it. However, before the summer ended, 
Louis XIV. was no more, and Madame de Maintenon had 
retired to spend her last years among her beloved pro- 
tegees at Saint-Cyr ; and, with their disappearance from 
the scene, the last restraint on the vices and caprices of 
the Duchesse de Berry was removed. 

1 The four " dames " were : the Comtesse de Brancas ; Madame de 
Coetenfao, wife of the princess's chevalier d'honneur ; the Marquise de 
Clermont d'Amboise, and the Marquise de Pons. On the death of 
Madame de Coetenfao, which occurred a few weeks later, her post was 
given to the Marquise d'Armentieres. 


Philippe d'Orleans becomes Regent, and the Duchesse de Berry pre- 
pares to reap the fruits of her father's triumph — She obtains the 
Luxembourg as a residence — Her attitude towards her mother — 
She secures permission to have officers to command her guards — 
She endeavours to usurp the honours of a queen — Her quarrel with 
the Prince de Conti — Her adventure in the gardens of the Luxem- 
bourg — She closes them to the public — She insults the civic digni- 
taries of Paris — She obtains La Muette as a country-residence — 
Her amours— The Chevalier de Rion — Portrait of this personage — 
Madame de Mouchy — Her detestable character— Rion becomes 
amant en titre of the Duchesse de Berry — Infatuation of the princess 
— Singular attitude of Rion towards her — Supper-parties at the 
Luxembourg — A complaisant confessor. 

THE approaching death of Louis XIV. had been 
viewed by the Duchesse de Berry with considerable 
anxiety, since the intrigues which were on foot to place 
the Due du Maine, the beloved brother of the Duchesse 
d'Orleans, in power, and, in consequence, to increase the 
influence of that princess, could not fail, in the event 
of their success, to diminish immeasurably her own im- 
portance. But the moment she learned that the old 
King's will had been set aside, and that her father had 
triumphed over her uncle and secured the Regency, all 
her fears as to the future were dispelled, and she joyfully 
prepared to reap the fruits of victory. 

Her first act was to demand from the Regent the 
Luxembourg as a residence. This request having been 
accorded, she insisted that all the persons who had 
apartments there should vacate them immediately, in 



order that there might be no delay in preparing the palace 
for her reception, " which embarrassed them so much," 
writes Buvat, " that they knew not where to go, since 
there were no apartments nor any house vacant in the 
neighbourhood." 1 The last week in September saw her 
installed there with her little Court, and celebrating her 
advent by boisterous supper-parties, at one of which the 
new ruler of France assisted. 

Once in possession of the Luxembourg, the Duchesse 
de Berry determined to spare no effort to make it the 
centre of the fashionable world, and proceeded to institute 
lansquenet-parties, alternating with those given by the 
Duchesse d'Orleans at the Palais-Royal. At the latter's 
parties she never condescended to appear ; indeed, being 
no longer under the necessity of maintaining some appear- 
ance of deference towards her mother, she ignored her 
altogether. At the same time, she largely increased her 
Household, and demanded of her father permission to 
have officers to command her guards. The Regent 
hesitated, for this was a privilege which had never been 
granted to " a daughter of France," much less to a 
" granddaughter," and Maria Theresa of Austria, the wife 
of Louis XIV., had been the first queen to enjoy it. 
But, as he was never able to oppose much resistance to 
his eldest daughter's caprices, he soon yielded, according, 
however, the same honour to his mother ; and the 
princess proceeded to appoint a captain, a lieutenant and 
an ensign, the first charge being given to the Chevalier 
de Roye, 2 who had lately succeeded La Haye in her 

1 Journal de la Regence, September, 1715. 

8 Barthelemy de la Rochefoucauld, known later under the title of 
the Marquis de la Rochefoucauld. He married Mile. Prondre, daughter 
of a wealthy revenue-farmer, and died in 1724. 


affections, and the lieutenancy to a certain Chevalier 
de Rion, of whom we shall have a good deal to say 

To testify her respect for the memory of the late King, 
the Duchesse de Berry had announced her intention of 
not going to the play for six months, and she kept her 
word. Singularly enough, however, she seemed to con- 
sider that there could be no possible objection to her 
patronising any other form of entertainment within the 
walls of a theatre during the period of mourning, for on 
January 4, 1716, she appeared, in a superb toilette, at the 
masked-ball at the Opera, 1 followed by several of the 
other princesses. This visit was repeated several times 
during the ensuing Carnival. 

In a letter written in the first days of the new year, 
Madame bewails the conduct of her eldest granddaughter, 
whose reformation she had now abandoned as an alto- 
gether hopeless undertaking : " The Duchesse de Berry 
has always about her persons who lead her astray. I 
have ceased to speak to her. She is intelligent, but she 
has been very badly brought up. I no longer look upon 
her as one of my grandchildren ; she regards me in the 
same way ; I do not trouble about her, and she does not 
trouble about me." 2 

The Duchesse de Berry certainly did not trouble 
about her grandmother, or about any one else, for that 

1 These balls were inaugurated at the end of 171 5, at the suggestion 
of the Chevalier de Bouillon, who received for it a pension of 6000 
livres. They took place three times a week, people paid at the doors, 
and the boxes were thrown open to those who did not care to dance. 
" A contrivance admirably invented and of easy and instantaneous 
application," says Saint-Simon, " was made to cover the orchestra 
and put the stage and the pit on the same level." 

2 Correspondance complete de Madame, duchesse d'Orleans, Letter 
of January 7, 1716. 


matter. At this moment, she was obsessed by one idea : 
that of usurping the rank and privileges of a queen. For 
the favours she had already obtained from Louis XIV. 
and the Regent, far from contenting her, had served 
merely to stimulate her ambition and to encourage her 
to put forward far more exorbitant pretensions ; and 
she was determined that the public should see for itself 
that she was first lady in the land. She began by in- 
sisting that the young King should visit her at the 
Luxembourg on the second occasion on which he quitted 
the Tuileries after the expiration of his period of mourn- 
ing — his first visit had, of course, been paid to the Palais- 
Royal — and had the satisfaction of seeing the royal 
carriages standing before her door, to testify to the 
gaping Parisians the consideration in which she was 
held. A few days later, she issued in state from the 
Luxembourg, escorted by her guards, and preceded by 
kettledrummers sounding their instruments, and defiled 
in this fashion along the whole length of the Quai des 
Tuileries. Since no one, not even a Queen of France, 
had the right of being preceded by music in any town 
in which the Sovereign happened to be residing, the 
princess had been guilty of a most outrageous piece of 
presumption ; and the Marechal de Villeroy, Louis XV. 's 
gouverneur, went at once to the Regent to complain of 
it in the strongest possible terms. The latter, recognising 
the impossibility of upholding his daughter, reprimanded 
her sharply and forbade her ever to repeat such an 
escapade. The princess was thus obliged to renounce 
this pretension, but immediately afterwards she at- 
tempted a new innovation. 

Ever since the death of the late King she had sought 


to make herself the arbitrix, not onfy of the fashions, 
but of the pleasures of the capital, and, among other 
things, had affected to take a great interest in theatrical 
affairs. The supervision of the Paris theatres appertained 
to the Dues d'Aumont and de Tresme, in their capacity 
as First Gentlemen of the Chamber ; but, to the pro- 
found disgust of these two noblemen, the Duchesse de 
Berry proceeded to associate herself with them, and to 
meddle in every matter which was submitted for their 
decision. Thus, in the previous October, she had in- 
sisted, notwithstanding the efforts of d'Aumont to protect 
them, on the dismissal of four actors, La Chaise, Durand, 
Clavereau, and La Morancourt, from the Comedie- 
Francaise, on the ground that their acting was un- 
worthy of the national theatre. The unfortunate players, 
in consequence, stood in considerable awe of her, not 
knowing who might not be her next victim, and were 
ready to flatter her to her heart's content. 

Aware of this, and assured of the complaisance of the 
Gentlemen of the Chamber, she resolved to seek com- 
pensation for the rebuff she had just sustained, by 
arranging that her first visit to the Comedie-Francaise 
should be attended by an amount of ceremonial which 
would have been appropriate only in the case of a 
Queen or a Dauphine. She appeared in full Court toilette 
and entered her box, above which a canopy had been 
erected. Four of her guards were on duty on the stage ; 
others were dispersed about the theatre ; and, before 
the play began, the actor Breteuil addressed to her a ful- 
some harangue, in the name of his iellow-societaires. The 
astonishment was general, and the presumption of the 
princess was so severely criticised that she never ven- 


tured to repeat it. Henceforward she avoided the 
' Comedie," from fear lest it should be thought that she 
had renounced her pretensions, and patronised the 
Opera, where she contented herself with one of the 
smaller boxes, and was not received with any ceremony. 
However, two or three weeks later, her vanity was the 
cause of a very pretty quarrel between her and the Prince 
de Conti, in which her Royal Highness got decidedly 
the worst of it. 

As she was going one day to the Opera, preceded as 
usual by her guards, the latter stopped the coach of the 
Prince de Conti, who was also on his way thither, and 
one of them struck the coachman, because he refused to 
pull up his horses, in order to allow the princess to precede 
his master. Although the Duchesse de Berry, being the 
widow of a " grandson of France," was within her strict 
right in requiring the carriage of a Prince of the Blood to 
make way for hers, this was an altogether different matter 
from seeking to vindicate her superior rank by violent 
means ; and Conti was furiously indignant. On arriving 
at the theatre, he complained to La Rochefoucauld- 
Roye, the captain of the offending guards, and, failing 
to obtain satisfaction from that personage, addressed 
himself to the Due d'Orleans, and demanded reparation 
for the affront in such forcible terms that the Regent in- 
sisted on his daughter according him a personal interview 
at the Luxembourg and endeavouring to placate him. 
"He came there," writes Saint-Simon ; "the conversa- 
tion, very inappropriately, took place in public, and, 
to tell the truth, with all her intelligence, she extricated 
herself from it very badly. She reproached the prince 
with not having addressed himself to her ; she wanted 


to accuse the coachman and to excuse the guard. Then, 
perceiving that she would not succeed, and that the Due 
d'Orleans intended to be obeyed, she told the Prince de 
Conti, that, since he wished this guard to go to prison, 
to prison he should go, but that she entreated that he 
should only remain there a little while. The latter was 
compassionate ; in fact, the guard was no sooner sent 
to prison than he came out again, at the request of the 
Prince de Conti." Nevertheless, the fact remained that 
the princess had been compelled to admit herself in the 
wrong, and had sustained a defeat very galling to her 

The pretensions of the Duchesse de Berry did not con- 
tribute to endear her to the Parisians, and a few weeks 
after the incident just recorded she was so ill-advised 
as to take a step which rendered her still more unpopular. 

The beautiful gardens of the Luxembourg had always 
been open to the public, and on summer evenings were 
the favourite resort of the residents of the Faubourg 
Saint-Germain. Now, the Duchesse de Berry was 
always very curious to learn what the public happened 
to be saying about her, and often, as soon as it was dusk 
and there was little chance of her being recognised, she 
sallied out incognito into the gardens, to mingle with 
the throng of pleasure-seekers and listen to their con- 
versation. For some little time she indulged this caprice 
without any unpleasantness occurring, but, one evening, 
towards the end of June, while she and three of her 
favourites, Mesdames de la Rochefoucauld, de Mouchy, 
and d'Arpajon, were promenading as usual, they at- 
tracted the attention of a group of young lawyers' 
clerks, who accosted them, without, of course, having the 


least suspicion of their identity. Wishing to sustain the 
character which they had assumed for the occasion — ■ 
that of women of the middle-class — the ladies entered 
into conversation with the young men and began to 
laugh and jest with them somewhat freely, with the con- 
sequence that the latter presently became so familiar 
that the noble dames were obliged to summon the gate- 
keepers to their assistance. 1 

Although the princess had brought this adventure 
upon herself, she was, nevertheless, extremely indignant 
and decided to close the gardens to the public and 
deprive the residents of the Faubourg Saint-Germain of 
a privilege which they had enjoyed ever since the 
palace had been built, and had come to look upon 
almost as a right. The popular indignation, which found 
vent in more than one mordant chanson at the expense 
of the august tenant of the Luxembourg, was aggra- 
vated by the fact that the closing of the gardens had 
been carried out without any previous notice, and that, 
on the first evening, a number of people had got shut in 
and had been compelled, in spite of their remonstrances, 
to pass the night there. 

The princess's action was not only bitterly resented 

1 A very similar adventure befell the princess at a masked ball at 
the Comedie-Francaise, at the beginning of the following January. " On 
January 18," writes Buvat, " the Duchesse de Berry, being disguised 
and masked at the ball at the Comedie-Francaise, a strange mask 
approached the princess, whom he did not recognise, said to her some 
words of gallantry, and became so familiar as to take her by the chin, 
in order to embrace her. By which she thought herself so offended 
that, having removed her mask, she ordered her officers to arrest the 
unknown, to unmask him, to undress him, and to expose him in this 
condition on the stage, to the derision of the numerous company 
which had assembled. Having endured this for some time, he was 
permitted to resume his clothes and his mask " (Journal de la Regence, 
January 1717). 


by the citizens, but was severely criticised in exalted 
circles. The Due de Bourbon, between whose family and 
the Orleans a bitter feud had for some time existed, 
hastened to show his sympathy with the faubourg by 
throwing open the garden of the Hotel de Conde to the 
public ; and, on the occasion of a musical fete at the 
Tuileries, the little King was heard to remark, as he 
looked down from the terrace on the joyous crowd 
below : " I do not intend to act like Madame de Berry ; 
it is my wish that every one shall enter my gardens." 1 

If it had been the deliberate intention of the duchess 
to make herself detested by every class in the com- 
munity, she was certainly going the right way to achieve 
her purpose, for towards the end of that summer she 
contrived to offend mortally the susceptibilities of the 
civic dignitaries of Paris, a body notorious for the jealousy 
with which they regarded any attack on their privileges, 
or what they conceived to be their privileges. We read 
in the Journal de la Regence, under date August 28, 

" M. Trudon, maitre des requites, has lately been elected 
Provost of the Merchants. He and the sheriffs went to 
salute the King, and from there they proceeded to the 
Luxembourg to salute the Duchesse de Berry, and rode 
in their carriages to the end of the courtyard, as far as 
the foot of the staircase. But, as they were ascending, 
Madame de Berry, knowing that their carriages had 
entered, sent orders with the utmost despatch to make 
them go out again, and to put the guard who had per- 
mitted them to enter under arrest. However, she re- 
ceived these gentlemen very graciously, and they com- 

1 Gazette de la Regence, August 24, 1716. 


plimented her on behalf of the town. This done, the 
provost, who was returning, having ascertained that 
the carriages had been sent away, retraced his steps 
and told Madame de Berry that they had been accorded 
this honour by the late Monseigneur at Meudon, when 
their carriages had entered the courtyard of the chateau, 
and that they believed that this privilege was their due. 
Upon which, Madame de Berry said to them that Mon- 
seigneur might do as he wished, but that she intended to 
uphold her dignity, and turned her back on them in an 
excessively haughty manner. This matter has been the 
subject of several discussions, and perhaps on the next 
New Year's Day the municipal authorities will not 
visit her." 

The possession of the beautiful palace which had been 
the home of Marie de' Medici, of Gaston d'Orleans, and 
of la Grande Mademoiselle did not content the Duchesse 
de Berry ; she desired to have a country-residence, 
where she could spend the summer months, and where she 
would be more at liberty than at the Luxembourg. 
Having thought of several in turn, she eventually decided 
upon La Muette, a hunting-lodge at the entry of the 
Bois de Boulogne, belonging to Armenonville, who had 
successively filled the offices of Director-General of 
France, Minister of Marine, and Keeper of the Seals. 
Armenonville had spent considerable sums on the im- 
provement of La Muette, and, yielding to the entreaties 
of his wife, who was greatly attached to the place, 
declared that nothing would induce him to part with it. 
But the princess coveted it as did Ahab the vineyard of 
the hapless Naboth ; and he was obliged to submit before 
a formal order of the Regent, and to take in exchange 


the Chateau of Madrid 1 and the sum of 10,000 livres a 
year for life (May 1716). The Duchesse de Berry thus 
became the owner of one of the most charming country- 
residences in the neighbourhood of Paris, 2 of which she 
lost no time in taking possession ; and was so delighted 
with it, that for the moment she felt at peace with all the 
world, and on July 2 gave a grand dinner in honour of 
her mother, by way of a house-warming. As for poor 
Madame d'Armenonville, she died in the following 
December; " and it is said," writes Buvat, " that it was 
from grief at having been obliged to surrender her beauti- 
ful house of La Muette to the Duchesse de Berry." 3 

Both La Muette and the Luxembourg were soon to 
witness strange things. We have mentioned that La 
Haye, the gallant with whom the duchess had proposed 
to fly to the Netherlands, had been succeeded in her 
affections by La Rochefoucauld-Roye, the captain of 
her guards. That personage, however, was not permitted 
to enjoy his bonne fortune very long, and at the end of 
a few months found himself replaced, in his turn, by the 
Marquis de Bonnivet, a species of chevalier d'industrie, 
upon whom the princess conferred the post of master 
of her wardrobe. But M. de Bonnivet 's favour was even 

1 The Chateau of Madrid, situated at the extremity of the Bois de 
Boulogne, in the direction of Saint-Cloud, had been built by Francois I., 
and received its name in commemoration of that monarch's captivity 
in the Spanish capital. 

2 " I went on Sunday morning to Passy. While there, I went to 
see La Muette, that is to say, the apartments and the gardens of the 
Duchesse de Berry, who was spending all the Sunday and Monday in 
Paris, to perform her devotions. She returns on Tuesday, and will 
pass all the summer there. It is a delicious little chateau, nobly fur- 
nished. From the princess's bed she is able to see the garden and all 
kinds of pleasing objects ; nothing presents itself to her eyes which 
is not agreeable" {Gazette de la Regence, May 21, 1717). 

3 Journal de la Rigence, December, 1716. 


briefer than that of his predecessor; and, in the course 
of the summer of 1716, her Royal Highness transferred 
her heart to the keeping of a young man who was to 
remain in possession of it for the rest of her life, and for 
whose sake she showed herself ready to brave all scandal, 
and to expose herself to the public view with a shameless- 
ness which had no parallel in the case of a woman of such 
exalted station. 

Sicaire Antonin Armand Auguste Nicolas d'Aydie, 
Chevalier de Rion — to give this fortunate young man his 
full name — hailed from Gascony, a province whose name 
has been for centuries a synonym for courage, assurance, 
pertinacity, and other qualities necessary for the success- 
ful adventurer. He was of good birth, a son of the Comte 
de Benanges and of Diane de Bautru de Nogent, a niece 
on the distaff side of the aged Due de Lauzun. But he 
was poor as the proverbial rat, and, after serving for a 
while as a subaltern in a cavalry regiment stationed in 
a provincial town, he came, early in 1715, to Paris, in 
the hope of bettering his fortunes, at the suggestion, it 
would appear, of Madame de Pons, who had lately suc- 
ceeded Madame de la Vieuville as dame d'atours to the 
Duchesse de Berry, and to whom he was distantly 

Rion was at this time about twenty-two years of age, 
" a short, stout lad," says Saint-Simon, " with a round, 
pale face, so thickly covered with pimples that it bore 
no bad resemblance to an abscess." The portrait which 
Madame draws of him is still less flattering. " I cannot 
conceive," she writes, " how any one can love this 
rogue : he has neither face nor figure ; he has the appear- 
ance of a water-sprite, for he has a green and yellow 


countenance ; his mouth, his nose, and his eyes are like 
those of a Chinaman ; one would take him for a baboon 
rather than for a Gascon, as he is. He is foppish and 
not in the least intelligent ; he has a big head shut in 
between broad shoulders ; and one sees by his eyes that 
his sight is not very good. In short, he is a very ugly 
rogue ; but he is said to be excessively amorous, and 
that charms all the debauched women. The Polignac 1 
shut herself up with him for two days." 

Rion was a good-humoured, pleasant little man, 
modest, courteous, and obliging — " a good and honest 
fellow." 2 His relationship to Madame de Pons secured 
him admission to the Luxembourg, where his charming 
manners created a very favourable impression, and 
where he succeeded in captivating the heart — or rather 
the senses — of Madame de Mouchy, a young woman who 
had for some time past enjoyed the entire confidence 
of the Duchesse de Berry. 

Of all the undesirable women whom the Duchesse de 
Berry had gathered about her this Madame de Mouchy 
was infinitely the worst. The daughter of a small govern- 
ment official, named Forcadele, and of the duchess's 
first waiting- woman, " who, become a widow, had long 
kept house with a married man," 3 she had succeeded in 
insinuating herself into the princess's favour soon after 
the dismissal of Mile, de Vienne, and rapidly acquired 
over her a great and most pernicious influence. Married 
in 1714, through the good offices of her patroness, to a 
complaisant nobleman, the Marquis de Mouchy, she had, 

1 On the amorous adventures of the Comtesse de Polignac, see the 
author's The Fascinating Due de Richelieu (London, Methuen ; New 
New York, Scribner, 1910). 

* Saint-Simon. 3 Madame, Letter of September 8, 1713. 


U'ithout as yet occupying any official position at the 
Luxembourg, the privilege of constant access to the 
princess, who seldom took any step of importance without 
consulting her. 

Madame de Mouchy was the evil genius of the Luxem- 
bourg. Saint-Simon describes her as possessed of " a 
talent and inventive resources wholly employed for pur- 
poses of the most horrible baseness, an unparalleled 
effrontery, and a greed for self-advancement which 
prompted her to undertake everything, with all the 
intelligence, the art and the cunning requisite to insure 
success ; always with an end in view, and saying and 
doing nothing without some purpose, however frivolous 
and trivial what she said or did might seem. To Madame 
she is " a wicked sorceress," " a shameless woman," 
" the most unworthy favourite who had ever been seen " ; 
and all contemporary writers agree in representing her 
as an intrigante of the most dangerous kind. 

Through the influence of Madame de Mouchy, when 
officers were appointed to command the guards of the 
Duchesse de Berry, Rion obtained the post of lieutenant ; 
but her Royal Highness's affections were just then occu- 
pied by the Marquis de Bonnivet, and for some six months 
the chevalier rode beside the princess's coach without 
attracting more than a passing glance from its occupant. 
And then Bonnivet was pensioned off, and, shortly after- 
wards, this uncomely little Gascon adventurer found him- 
self the object of a passion such as few men so shabbily 
treated by Nature can ever have been fated to inspire, 
and which must have occasioned him as much astonish- 
ment as joy. 

Certain writers have assured us that the Duchesse 


de Berry paid Madame de Mouchy a large sum in order 
to induce the latter to surrender to her her lover. And 
the Abbe de Vauxcelles, in one of the marginal notes 
which he inserted in a copy of the Memoir es secrets of 
Duclos, but which we dare not venture to transcribe, 
says that the author related to him that, when this 
cynical bargain had been concluded, Madame de Mouchy 
gave Rion, as yet quite unconscious of his good fortune, 
a rendezvous at which the princess took her place. 

There is no truth in this. Madame de Mouchy did not 
need any inducement to surrender her prior claims upon 
Rion. She was scarcely the kind of woman to prefer 
sentiment to interest, and she was well aware that, with 
the aid of the chevalier, she would be able to dominate 
the mind of the princess even more absolutely than she 
already did. For some time she appears to have been 
watching for an opportunity of recommending Rion to 
the notice of her royal friend, and the occasion arrived 
with the dismissal of Bonnivet. So persistently, yet so 
adroitly, did she sing his praises that the Duchesse de 
Berry could not fail to be impressed. She began to 
regard her lieutenant of the guards more closely ; she 
approved ; she loved, and ended by becoming hope- 
lessly infatuated. 

And this infatuation she made not the smallest effort 
to conceal ; on the contrary, she appeared to glory in 
it, with the consequence that it was speedily the talk 
of both Court and town. Nothing was too good for this 
paragon of gallants ; she could not do enough to testify 
the devotion with which he had inspired her. She pur- 
chased for him the command of the Regiment de Soisson- 
nais, for which she paid the sum of 30,000 livres ; she 


installed him in a suite of commodious apartments in 
close proximity to the Luxembourg, and furnished them 
magnificently ; she decked him in the richest clothes 
covered with the most superb lace ; she loaded him with 
jewels, and, needless to say, with money. And, having 
done all this, she fell down and worshipped him ! 

" Rion," says Saint-Simon, " soon understood the 
power of his charms, which could only have captivated 
the incomprehensible and depraved fancy of a princess. 
He did not abuse this power, and made himself liked 
by every one; but he treated the Duchesse de Berry 
as M. de Lauzun had treated Mademoiselle. He took 
pleasure in making the princess long after him and be 
jealous, and feigned to be still more jealous of her. Often 
he made her shed tears. Little by little, he acquired such 
authority over her that she dared not do anything without 
his permission, not even the most trivial things. If she 
were ready to go to the Opera, he made her stay away ; at 
other times he made her go thither when she did not wish 
to. He made her behave well to many ladies whom she 
disliked, and treat ill persons who pleased her, but of 
whom he pretended to be jealous. Even in her toilette 
she was not allowed the smallest liberty. He amused 
himself by making her disarrange her coiffure or change 
her gown, when she was fully dressed ; and that so often 
and so publicly that he accustomed her at last to take 
over-night his orders for her morning's toilette and 
occupation ; and on the morrow he would change every- 
thing. At length, she actually sent messages to him by 
confidential servants several times during her toilette, 
to know what ribbons she should wear ; the same with 
her gown and other things ; and nearly always he made 


her wear what she did not wish for. If she ever dared 
to do the least thing without his permission, he treated 
her like a serving- wench, and her tears sometimes lasted 
several days. Every one at the Luxembourg paid court 
to M. de Rion, who, on his side, took care to be on good 
terms with all the world, nay, with an air of respect that 
he refused, even in public, to his princess. He often gave 
sharp replies to her in society, which made people lower 
their eyes, and brought blushes to the cheek of the 
Duchesse de Berry, who, nevertheless, did not attempt 
to conceal her submission and her passion, even before 

Rion appears to have adopted this line of conduct at 
the suggestion of the cynical Due de Lauzun, who was 
delighted at the idea of seeing his nephew play at the 
Luxembourg the role which had been his own in the 
time of la Grande Mademoiselle. " He had imbued him 
with the family principles," says Duclos, " and had 
persuaded him that he would lose his mistress if he 
spoiled her by respectful tenderness, and that princesses 
liked to be scolded." 1 Rion had followed his uncle's 
counsels, and the result proved their efficacy. 

And so people witnessed the strange spectacle of this 
princess, so disdainful with her mother, so imperious with 
her father, so arrogant towards all the world, cringing 
before a cadet of Gascony. 

The supper-parties at the Luxembourg became the 
counterpart of the bacchanalian repasts of the Palais- 
Royal. Rion selected the guests and chose the days, 
and " the Duchesse de Berry disgraced herself by sitting 
down to table with him and obscure people ; she with 

1 Duclos, Mimoires secrets. 


whom no man could lawfully eat if he were not a Prince 
of the Blood." 1 Among the most frequent habitues was 
the so-called director of the princess's conscience, Pere 
Riglet, a complaisant Jesuit, who " drank enough to 
make a Musketeer stagger, and simultaneously related 
anecdotes which would have brought a blush to the 
cheek of a Garde-Francaise." 2 If the duchess ever went 
to him for ghostly counsel, she must have been saved 
the trouble of confessing a good many things, of which he 
had been a witness. 

Madame de Mouchy was the worthy confidante of the 
lovers, and performed the duty of peacemaker whenever 
one of their frequent quarrels threatened to go too far. 
*' She lived in secret with Rion as the Duchesse de Berry 
lived openly, and was better treated by him than the 
princess, without the latter daring to take notice of it, 
from fear of a scandal which would have caused her to 
lose so dear a lover and a confidante so necessary." 3 

1 Saint-Simon. 2 M. Funck-Brentano, la Regence. 

3 Saint-Simon. 


The Duchesse de Berry takes an apartment at the Carmelite convent in 
the Faubourg Saint- Jacques, and varies her scandalous life by 
intervals of prayer and fasting — Indignation of the Regent at the 
public reign of Rion, to which, however, he tamely submits — The 
Duchesse de Berry assists at the orgies of the Palais- Royal — Con- 
tinuation of the abominable rumours concerning the relations 
between Philippe d'Orleans and his eldest daughter — The satires of 
Voltaire — The Philippiques of La Grange-Chancel — Contemptuous 
indifference to public opinion shown by the Regent and the Duchesse 
de Berry — Voltaire sent to the Bastille — First representation of the 
poet's CEdipe — Conduct of the parterre — Visit of Peter the Great to 
the Duchesse de Berry — Distressing embonpoint of the princess — 
Her gluttony — A revolution of the palace : Rion becomes first 
equerry to the princess and Madame de Mouchy dame d'atours — 
— Indignation of Mesdames de Clermont and de Beauvau, dames de 
compagnie to the Duchesse de Berry, who resign their posts — Epi- 
sode at the Opera — Rion appointed Governor of Cognac. 

OINGULAR to relate, in the midst of this disgraceful 
K -' state of affairs, the princess, hitherto so profoundly 
indifferent to religion, suddenly took into her head to 
have an apartment at the Carmelite convent in the 
Faubourg Saint-Jacques, that celebrated house which 
had been the scene of the penitence of Louise de la 
Valliere and of many another high-born dame. Thither 
she sometimes repaired in the afternoon, always slept 
there on the eve of great fasts or festivals, and not 
infrequently remained several days. She went accom- 
panied by two or three ladies and scarcely a single 
servant ; was served with whatever the convent could 
supply for her table ; attended all the services ; some- 



times remained a long while in prayer, and fasted rigidly 
on the appointed days. She appears to have been subject 
to occasional qualms of conscience, and to have cherished 
the strange illusion that, by observing the outward cere- 
monies of the Church, she could repair the scandal of her 
life, instead of which she merely aggravated it. 

Two of the younger Carmelites, who combined with 
their piety a considerable knowledge of the world, re- 
ceived instructions to attach themselves to the duchess 
during her visits to the convent. When they had become 
on familiar terms, they spoke to the lady boldly, and 
told her that if they knew nothing of her but what they 
saw, that they should admire her as a saint; but, else- 
where, they learned that she led a very irregular life, 
and so publicly that they could not conceive why she 
came. " The Duchesse de Berry laughed at this, and 
was not angry. Sometimes they lectured her, called 
people and things by their names, and exhorted her to 
change so scandalous a life. But it was all in vain. She 
lived as before at the Luxembourg and at the Car- 
melites, and caused people to wonder at this extraordinary 
conduct." 1 

The Regent was indignant at the public reign of Rion, 
the more so since his daughter returned to him with 
interest the treatment which she received from her lover. 
Several times he threatened to go to the Luxembourg 
and order the impudent little Gascon to be thrown out 
of the window. But he went no farther than threats, 
and even these were never uttered in the presence of the 
Duchesse de Berry, to whom he showed almost as much 
submission as she herself did to Rion. Rion, on his side, 

1 Saint-Simon. 


treated the Regent with all the respect that was his due, 
and never attempted to interfere with the intimacy 
between him and his daughter, preferring to make use 
of the latter's influence with her father to advance his 
own interests. 

The two accordingly continued to spend a great part 
of their time together. The Regent generally visited the 
Luxembourg between five and six o'clock, when the 
official part of his day was over, and he was free to 
devote himself to pleasure ; sometimes he would remain 
to supper ; at others, he would bring his daughter back 
with him to the Palais-Royal, to assist at those too- 
celebrated repasts, which generally began about nine 
o'clock, and often continued far into the small hours of 
the following morning. 

It was, indeed, a strange company which assembled 
round the supper-table of the ruler of France. There 
might be seen that band of dissolute men whom the 
prince had dubbed his " roues " : Farges, one of the 
handsomest men of his time, the darling of all the ladies ; 
the Chevalier de Simiane, who wrote excellent verses, 
but who was a still better drinker ; La Fare, captain of 
the Regent's guards, nicknamed " le bon enfant " ; 
Broglie, " whose pleasantries consisted in saying coarsely 
the most filthy things " ; l Noce and Brancas ; d'Effiat 
and Canillac. And with them a group of women as 
depraved as themselves : Madame de Parabere, maitresse 
en titre of their host, " whom the Regent called his 
' petit corbeau noir,' when he was at the first glass of 
champagne, and his ' gigot ' at the last " ; 2 Madame 

1 Madame. 

- Edouard de Barthelemy, Us Filles du Rdgent. 


d'Averne, who succeeded the Parabere in the prince's 
affections ; the Duchesse de Gesvres, who could drink 
against any man present ; Mesdames de Nesle and de 
Polignac, who fought a duel in the Bois de Boulogne for 
the sake of the beaux yeux of the Due de Richelieu ; 
Madame de Gace, who once at a supper-party, Mathieu 
Marais tells us, after priming herself with wine and all 
kinds of liqueurs, danced " almost naked " before the 
company, and then went into the ante-chamber and gave 
a second performance for the benefit of the lackeys ; the 
Duchesse d'Albret, who, according to Buvat, " died from 
the complaisance that she had to drink quantities of 
liqueurs with the Duchesse de Berry " ; and Madame 
de Mouchy, whom we have already described. 

And this strange company was frequently reinforced 
by some Opera-girl upon whom the Regent or one of 
his friends happened to have cast a favourable eye, or 
some playwright, actor or poet, who could be trusted to 
contribute to the gaiety of the evening by improvised 
couplets or witty sallies. 

When the servants had laid the table, they withdrew, 
and the rule was that guests should wait upon themselves. 
The doors were then closed, and " all Paris might have 
been in flames — there was no longer any Regent ; he 
was inaccessible to every one. From that moment there 
were neither princes, nor actors, nor mistresses in the 
company, neither etiquette nor ceremony ; differences 
of rank were blended in a perfect equality, and the 
person who could say the most piquant things was the 
one who ruled." 1 " It was at these parties," writes 
Saint-Simon, " that the character of every one was 

1 Soulavie, Memoires du Due de Richelieu. 


passed in review, with the utmost freedom. The gal- 
lantries past and present of the Court and the town ; all 
old stories, disputes, jokes, absurdities were raked up ; 
nobody was spared." The company drank to excess, 
the Regent himself setting the example ; and, as the 
night wore on, they vied with one another in blasphemy 
and obscenity, and the most unbridled licence pre- 
vailed. " Sometimes even — dare I say it ? — the candles 
were extinguished, and the Due d'Orleans, who, from his 
nature, was very inquisitive concerning scandalous 
anecdotes, having, on one occasion, placed two lighted 
torches in a tall cupboard favourably situated, threw open 
the two folding-doors at the same time, and in a moment 
revealed important secrets to the company." 1 

The Duchesse de Berry was in her element at these 
orgies, and seldom failed to leave them in a disgraceful 
state of intoxication. She was also the foremost to take 
part in the cynical entertainments which were sometimes 
improvised there ; and, on one occasion, together with 
Madame de Parabere and Madame d'Averne, appeared in 
a tableau-vivant entitled le Jugement de Paris, which was 
represented after the ancient bas-reliefs, with an absolute 

We can scarcely be surprised that the constant visits 
of the Regent to the Luxembourg, and the presence of 
his daughter among the debauched men and shameless 
women whom he gathered round his supper-table at the 
Palais-Royal, should have encouraged the circulation of 
those infamous reports which the malignity of Madame 
la Duchesse and her friends had set on foot, and which 
had already spread so far among the public. For the 

1 Soulavie, Memoires du due de Richelieu. 


arrogance of the Duchesse de Berry had rendered her, 
as we have seen, extremely unpopular, while the Regent, 
as every head of a State must do, had made many enemies, 
who were not too scrupulous as to the weapons they em- 
ployed to injure him. Soon the horrible accusations, 
which had hitherto been only whispered about, began, 
so to speak, to be proclaimed from the housetops, and 
a regular campaign of calumny was inaugurated. 

The chansonniers were the first to take the field, 
and numerous couplets began to make their appear- 
ance, none of which would it be possible to cite. 
Voltaire, who detested the Regent, was himself ac- 
cused of having perpetrated two pieces of verse, 
entitled respectively les Moabites and les Ammonites, 
in which the Due d'Orleans and his daughter were 
assailed in an abominable manner, and which were 
quoted everywhere. According to his custom, he hastened 
to disavow them, but his friend Cideville always persisted 
in attributing their authorship to him, notwithstanding 
all his denials, and they are to be found in Beuchot's 
edition of his works. He certainly merited the Bastille ; 
but the Regent did not wish to punish him in a fashion 
calculated to increase the scandal, and accordingly con- 
tented himself by causing an intimation to be conveyed 
to the malicious poet that it would be advisable for him 
to leave Paris for a season (May 1716). The charge was 
repeated, in a more detailed and far grosser form, by that 
implacable enemy of the Regent, La Grange-Chancel, 
who consecrated the whole of the third ode of his famous 
Philippiques to the supposed relations between the 
Due d'Orleans and his daughter. Then it was the turn 
of the pamphleteers, among whose productions may be 


mentioned la Chronique veritable du preux chevalier don 
Philippus d'Aurelie ; les Aventures du Prince Papyrius, 
surnommS PUIS- Argent, gouverneur des Francs sots, and 
ProsopopSe sur le RSgent, la duchesse de Berry et le Cardinal 
Dubois, a species of comedy in three acts, which passes 
in the infernal regions, where Pluto, Rhadamanthus and 
Minos sit in judgment upon the three. Finally, the 
caricaturists advanced to the attack, and permitted 
their pencils as much licence as did the others their 

We have said that these atrocious accusations have 
not been accepted by any serious historian, and there 
can be no doubt that, shamelessly debauched as were 
both father and daughter, they were perfectly innocent 
of the crime attributed to them. 1 But, at the same time, 
it must be admitted that the deplorable obstinacy of 
the Due d'Orleans, who, aware that he was odiously 
compromising his daughter in the eyes of a public greedy 
of scandal, continued to spend long hours alone in her 
company, and the abandoned life led by the Duchesse de 
Berry with hardly a pretence at concealment, encouraged 
people to believe all that the chansonniers and pamph- 
leteers recounted. That both were perfectly informed 
of the scandalous reports which were in circulation is 

1 M. Funck-Brentano, in his admirable history of the Regency, 
makes some interesting observations on this subject. " That criminal 
relations existed between them," he writes, " we do not believe. 
Apart from the idle talk held by those whom Saint-Simon calls ' the 
tongues of Satan,' contemporaries have transmitted nothing. The 
letters exchanged between father and daughter bear no trace of it ; 
they do not furnish the slightest indication ; and other arguments 
than the calumnies raked together by the Du Hautchamps and the 
Soulavies ; other texts than the strophes of the Philippiques and 
the chansons of the gutter — or of the ruelles, which is worse — would 
be required to establish a fact like that." 


proved by a curious letter of Madame, dated March 10, 

" On the 4th, Madame de Berry invited her father to 
come and stay the night at La Muette, for the vintagers' 
fete. The duke wrote asking how the devotions of the 
Carmelites would be edified at seeing her father sleep 
a night in her house. To which Madame de Berry re- 
plied that she had never heard it said that it was con- 
trary to devotion for a father to pass the night at his 
daughter's house, and that she did not know what scandal 
there could be in that." 

A few months later, however, an incident occurred 
which must have convinced them that they had gone a 
little too far in their contemptuous indifference to public 

It will be remembered that, in May 1716, Voltaire had 
been recommended to quit Paris for a season. He re- 
tired to Sully-sur-Loire, where he remained until the 
beginning of the following year, when he returned to the 
capital and recommenced his malicious pleasantries at 
the expense of the Regent and his daughter. In March, 
he was sent to the Bastille, as a punishment for two 
satires, J'ai vu and Puero regnante, both of which were 
ascribed to his pen — the first, it would seem, incorrectly — 
and remained there for over a year. 1 On his release 

1 Voltaire was entrapped into a confession of his delinquencies by 
one Beauregard, a cunning agent of the secret police — a mouche, as 
one said then — whom he believed to be his friend. Here is his report : 
" I saw him [Voltaire] at his lodging, Rue de la Calandre, at the Panier 
Vert, when he asked me what news there was. I answered that a 
number of works on the Due d'Orleans and the Duchesse de Berry- 
had appeared. He began to laugh and asked me if they were con- 
sidered good. I told him that they were thought very witty, and that 
people placed all that to his account, but that I did not believe any- 


(April ii, 1718), he was exiled to Chatenay, but, a few 
weeks later, was permitted to return to Paris. He 
came with his (Edipe, which he had corrected during 
his enforced seclusion in the Bastille, in his pocket, and 
on November 18 this tragedy was produced, with pro- 
digious success, at the Comedie-Francaise. 

Although the Due d'Orleans must have been aware that 
a malevolent public would be certain to recognise in the 
incestuous person of the husband of Jocasta an allusion 
to the frightful morals attributed to the ruler of France — 
indeed, certain persons had already substituted in pencil 
the name of Philippe for (Edipe on the playbills — he had 
the temerity to assist at the first representation, accom- 
panied by the Duchesse d'Orleans, Madame, and his 
three elder daughters. The manner in which every 
passage which could be applied to the Regent was re- 
ceived soon revealed the hostile attitude of the parterre ; 
but the prince affected to ignore it, talking and laughing 
with his daughters and sometimes joining in the applause 
directed against himself ; and the Duchesse de Berry 
followed his example. But when, in the last act, the high 
priest asked (Edipe the question : " Savez-vous settle- 
ment avec qui vous vivez?" And a spectator promptly 
anticipated the ill-fated king's reply by crying out : 
" Plaisante question ! qui le sait mieux que lui ? ' they 

thing of the kind, and that it was impossible at his age (Voltaire was 
then twenty- two) to write such things." 

Voltaire answered that he was wrong not to believe it. 

" He told me," continues Beauregard, " that, since he was unable 
to avenge himself on the Due d'Orleans in a certain fashion, he should 
not spare him in his satires. I asked him what the Due d'Orleans had 
done to him. He was lying down at the moment, but he rose up like 
a madman, and replied : ' What ! you do not know what that . . . has 
done to me ? He exiled me, because I had written publicly that his 
Messalina of a daughter was a ..." 


changed countenance. And the Duchesse de Berry is said 
to have nearly swooned away, when after the verses : 

O Corinthe ! 6 Phocide ! exdcrable hyme'ne'e ! 
Je vois naitre une race infame, infortunde, 
Digne de sa naissance, et de qui la fureur 
Remplira l'univers d'dpouvante et d'horreur. 

The same voice apparently shouted : " Diable ! combien 
done aurait-il d'enfants ! ' 

On May 7, 1717, Peter the Great arrived in Paris and 
was lodged at the Hotel des Lesdiguieres, 1 in the Rue 
de la Cerisau. Both the Duchesse de Berry and her 
mother were feverishly anxious that the illustrious 
traveller should recognise their importance by honouring 
them with a visit ; but Peter, though gracious enough to 
the Regent, did not appear to consider that prince's wife 
and daughter worthy of any particular attention on his 
part, and several days passed without their desire being 
gratified. At length, in despair, the mortified princesses, 
took a step which was in flagrant violation of all the rules 
of etiquette, but which, nevertheless, proved effective. 
" The Duchesse d'Orleans," writes Dangeau, " returned 
yesterday from Montmartre, 2 where she had been since 
Thursday, and sent M. de Saint-Pierre, her first equerry, 
to compliment the Czar, who answered that he would 
visit her to thank her. The Duchesse de Berry did like- 
wise, and received the same answer." 3 

1 The Hotel des Lesdiguieres had been built by the celebrated 
financier Sebastien Zamet, from whose heirs it was purchased by 
Bonne, Due des Lesdiguieres and Constable of France. 

2 The Abbey of Montmartre, where the Duchesse d'Orleans had an 
apartment, and to which she was frequently in the habit of retiring for 
a few days. 

3 Journal, May 19, 171 7. 


The Czar's visit to the latter took place on May 21, 
and the anonymous author of the Gazette de la Regence, 
who claims to have been present, gives the following 
account of the interview : 

" The same day (Friday), Madame de Berry returned 
expressly from La Muette to receive, at the Luxembourg, 
the Czar, who arrived at three o'clock, and was received 
by the duchess in her ante-chamber. His Majesty kissed 
Madame de Berry on both cheeks. She gave him her 
right hand, and conducted him into her state-chamber, 
where stood two arm-chairs. They remained there a 
quarter of an hour, and then the Czar went to view the 
gardens. I saw all this ceremony with mine own eyes, 
although there were very few people there. Madame de 
Berry looked as stout as a tower, although in other 
respects beautiful and youthful." 

The writer had certainly some excuse for describing 
the Duchesse de Berry as " stout as a tower." From 
her childhood the princess had shown a marked tendency 
to embonpoint, and, as she grew older, she became so 
stout that her figure was completely spoiled. At the 
same time, her complexion, hitherto one of her chief at- 
tractions, changed to a most unbecoming shade of red, 
despite the frequent bleedings to which she had recourse 
in order to remedy it. These operations, Dangeau tells 
us, had to be performed in the feet, since the surgeon was 
quite unable to find the vein in her arm. By the spring 
of 1717, the princess's generous proportions had begun to 
cause her serious inconvenience. The active life she 
had always led was no longer possible, and she decided to 
sell all her saddle-horses, since she was obliged to renounce 
following the chase except in her caliche, and even a quiet 

Peter the Great, Emi-eror of Russia 
From the painting by Nattier, at Versailles 

(Photo by \V. A. Mansell & Co.) 

( C C € 

( C C « C 


canter in the Bois de Boulogne could not be indulged in 
without discomfort. 

For this distressing condition of affairs her intemper- 
ance at table seems to have been mainly responsible. 
Not only did she habitually drink to excess, but she 
was also a most inveterate gourmand. ' It is impossible 
for her to be in good health with her frightful gluttony," 
writes Madame. " Every evening she sits down to table 
at eight or nine o'clock, and eats till three o'clock in the 
morning." And again : " Madame de Berry eats little 
at midday ; but how can she be expected to make a 
proper meal ? While still in bed, she devours all kinds of 
cakes. She never rises before midday, sits down to table 
at two o'clock, and eats little. At three o'clock, she rises 
from table, and does not walk a step. At four o'clock, 
they bring her all kinds of eatables : salad, cheese-cakes, 
fruit. She sups at ten o'clock in the evening, and remains 
at table until midnight. At one or two o'clock, she goes 
to bed, and, for a digestive, she drinks very strong 
brandy." 1 

The beginning of the following autumn, which the 
Duchesse de Berry was spending at La Muette, was 
marked by a veritable revolution of the palace. Desiring 
to give Rion a still more signal proof of her solicitude for 
his interests than any which she had yet bestowed upon 
him, and of having greater opportunities for enjoying his 
society, she determined to create him her first equerry. 
This charge was at present exercised by the Marquis 
d'Hautefort, a nobleman whom she dared not go so far as 
to dismiss ; and she accordingly determined to evade the 
difficulty by doubling the office and having two first 

1 Letters of April 2, 1719, and November 18, 1717. 


equerries. At the same time, partly to reward Madame 
de Mouchy for her confidential services, but more to mask 
the promotion of her lover, she determined to double 
the charge of dame d'atours as well. This creation was 
allowed to take place without provoking any observation 
from the Due d'Orleans. But it aroused the keenest 
resentment in the Duchesse de Berry's Household ; and 
two of her dames de compagnie, Madame de Clermont 
and Madame de Beauvau, indignant at the idea of a 
woman who had never filled any official charge about the 
person of the princess becoming all of a sudden their 
superior, demanded an audience of the Regent, and, after 
complaining bitterly of the promotion of Madame de 
Mouchy, concerning whom they expressed themselves in 
far from complimentary terms, resigned their posts. 
Nor did they make any effort to conceal from the Court 
their reasons for this action, which was generally ap- 

The Duchesse de Berry, in consequence, was deeply 
incensed, and her anger was sensibly augmented by the 
fact that both ladies continued to be well received by her 
father and mother at the Palais-Royal, who thus tacitly 
acknowledged that they had justice on their side. One 
evening, in the following April, the princess happened to 
be at the Opera, when she perceived Madame de Cler- 
mont, with the Duchesse d'£tampes, in the box of the 
Comte de Toulouse, which was exactly opposite hers. 
No sooner did she catch sight of her former dame de 
campagnie, than her florid countenance assumed an even 
deeper colour, and, turning to one of her guards, who was 
on duty, she sent him to Madame de Clermont, with a 
peremptory order to withdraw on the instant and never 


again to show herself in her Royal Highness's presence. 
Madame de Clermont obeyed, and left the Opera-house, 
accompanied by the Duchesse d'Etampes ; but the whole 
nobility was transported with indignation at the pre- 
tensions of a princess to banish one of their number from 
her presence in a public place— a right which belonged to 
the King alone. 

The Regent spoke to his daughter, as did Madame, 
and advised her to make the amende honorable; but 
the princess refused. However, the very hostile criti- 
cisms of which she continued to be the object eventu- 
ally convinced her of the necessity of yielding ; and, after 
a consultation with Madame de Saint-Simon, to whom she 
was ready enough to turn in moments of embarrassment, 
she decided to be reconciled to Mesdames de Clermont 
and de Beauvau. It was accordingly arranged that she 
should go and spend a couple of days in her apartment 
at the Carmelites, and that, while she was there, the two 
ladies and their husbands, accompanied by Madame de 
Saint-Simon, should pay her a visit. The princess, who, 
as we have said, could be perfectly charming when she 
wished to please, received them most graciously, and 
the reconciliation was complete. 

The Duchesse de Berry was far from satisfied with 
what she had already done for Rion ; her infatuation 
increased every day, and she thought only of rinding new 
means of pleasing him. He had expressed a desire for 
a government, and in November, 1717, she persuaded her 
father to purchase from its holder, M. de Saint- Viance, 
the rich government of Cognac, and to confer it upon her 
idol, with, we need hardly say, exemption from residing 


But let us leave the Duchesse de Berry for a while, 
and turn to the second of the Regent's daughters, Louise 
Adelaide d'Orleans, who had now abandoned the title 
of Mile, de Chartres for that of Mile. d'Orleans, which, 
it will be remembered, her elder sister had once borne. 


Mile, d' Orleans at the Abbey of Chelles — She announces her intention 
of taking the veil — Attitude of her relatives towards this project — 
She falls ill and is removed, on the advice of the doctors, to the 
Abbey of Montmartre — Unfounded report that she has decided to 
renounce her religious aspirations — Project of the Duchesse 
d'Orleans to marry her to the Prince de Dombes, eldest son of the 
Due du Maine — Mile. d'Orleans appears in Society — Her portrait by 
Madame — The singer Cauchereau — M. de Saint-Maixent — Mile. 
d'Orleans persists in her desire to enter religion — Futile efforts of 
her mother to coerce her into marrying the Prince de Dombes — 
The Regent refuses to sanction the princess becoming a nun — The 
latter, having obtained permission to visit Chelles, announces her 
determination to remain there — The Due d'Orleans endeavours to 
prevail upon her to renounce this resolve, but she remains inflexible 
— She pronounces her vows — She intrigues against the abbess, 
Madame de Villars, who is compelled to resign her post — Mile. 
d'Orleans is nominated Abbess of Chelles — Her consecration. 

THE Abbey of Chelles was, as we have seen, an 
infinitely more agreeable retreat than the majority 
of such institutions. Nevertheless, the monotonous and 
uniform life of the cloister was but ill-suited to a lively 
little girl not yet in her teens, and for some months Mile. 
d'Orleans was far from happy. However, she was at 
an impressionable age and of a very receptive nature, 
and it was difficult for her to remain long in an atmo- 
sphere of devotion without becoming affected by it ; and 
gradually religious ideas began to take possession of her 
mind. The nuns, and in particular the kind and sym- 
pathetic prioress, Madame de Fretteville, perceiving the 
direction in which her thoughts were tending, did every- 
thing in their power to encourage her ; and at the end 



of a year or two she did not conceal her intention of 
taking the veil. 

The Duchesse d'Orleans, far from combating this pro- 
ject, approved it warmly ; it was, indeed, with this idea 
that she had insisted on sending Mile. d'Orleans and Mile, 
de Valois to Chelles ; while her husband, with his usual 
indifference, shrugged his shoulders, and observed that 
if the girl wished to become a nun, he supposed she must 
have her way. Madame, on the contrary, showed her- 
self strongly opposed to her granddaughter's inclination. 
" She wishes to become a nun," she writes, " which dis- 
pleases me and delights her mother ; but I am very sure 
that every one will end by repenting of it. I have done 
all I can ; there would certainly be many things to 
say about that, but which cannot be entrusted to the 
post." 1 

It was believed that the death of Louis XIV. and the 
accession of her father to the Regency produced a sudden 
change in the projects of Mile, de Chartres, and that the 
good seed sown in the convent was suddenly checked 
by the thorns of ambition ; by the desire, now that her 
father had become head of the State and heir-presumptive 
to the throne, to assume the place in the world to which 
her rank entitled her, and perhaps to make a great 
marriage. This belief was engendered by the fact that 
very shortly afterwards the young princess was taken 
ill, and on the advice of the doctors who attended her, 
removed from Chelles to the Abbey of Montmartre, 
whence she emerged every morning to spend the day with 
her parents at the Palais-Royal. People attributed her 

1 Lettres de la Duchesse d'Orleans (edit. Jaegle), Letter of July 15, 


illness to the distaste which she had conceived for con- 
ventual life, and to mortification at the reluctance of 
her parents to permit her to return to the world ; and 
regarded her removal to Montmartre as preparatory to 
a complete renunciation of her determination to enter 
religion. " It is said that she has changed the intention 
that she had of becoming a nun," writes Dangeau on 
October 17, 1715. 

Public opinion did Mile. d'Orleans an injustice. It 
was not her views which had changed, but those 
of her parents, or rather of her mother. In conse- 
quence of recent political events, the duchess, always 
devoted to the interests of her favourite brother, the 
Due du Maine, was keenly desirous of bringing about 
a reconciliation between that prince and the Regent ; and 
the easiest way to effect this was a marriage between one 
of her daughters and the duke's eldest son, the Prince 
de Dombes. Mile. d'Orleans, being two years older than 
her next sister, Mile, de Valois, who, having failed to 
show the slightest inclination for the religious life, had 
been withdrawn from Chelles at the beginning of August 
1714, was the more suitable wife for her nephew ; and 
she was now as anxious to dissuade the girl from carrying 
out her pious resolutions as she had once been ready to 
confirm her in them. 

With this idea, she sought to present the world to the 
young recluse under its most pleasing aspects, and to pre- 
pare her for the position which she intended her to fill 
in it. She had her taught dancing and music ; she took 
her to the " Comedie," to the Opera and to balls, even 
to the Opera-ball, where she appeared twice during 
the winter of 1716. The princess appeared delighted with 


these unaccustomed pleasures and pursuits, and was 
particularly enthusiastic about music, which she studied 
under the direction of Cauchereau, the celebrated tenor 
of the Opera. 

Although the Duchesse d'Orleans had not yet shown 
her hand, in the last weeks of 1715 a rumour spread 
that her second daughter was shortly to be married ; and, 
indeed, it seemed very improbable that, if she had defi- 
nitely decided to renounce the convent, the young princess 
would remain long unwed. For Mile. d'Orleans, now in 
her seventeenth year, was undoubtedly a very charming 
and accomplished girl ; and the correspondence of 
Madame, usually so critical of her relatives, is full of her 
praises. The old lady describes her as " very agreeable 
in person, tall, graceful, with a pleasing countenance, a 
pretty mouth and teeth white as pearls, 1 beautiful hands, 
and a dazzling complexion." She adds that she dances 
well, thoroughly understands music, has an agreeable 
voice, and can sing at sight anything that she is asked 
to " without making grimaces," has a " natural elo- 
quence " and a very good disposition, " is fond of every- 
thing that she ought to be fond of ; and declares that 
she " loves her tenderly, which is not difficult to do, for 
she certainly deserves it." 2 And in another letter, dated 
August 12, 1716, Madame writes : " She firmly persists 
in becoming a nun, but I do not think that she has any 
vocation for it, for she has all the tastes of a boy : she 
loves dogs, horses, hunting, and shooting ; she fears 

1 Letters of January 16, 1716 and March 31, 1718. 

2 Elsewhere Madame writes : "I have never in my life seen 
^nore beautiful teeth. They are like pearls which have just been 
taken out of a jewel-case." 


nothing in the world, and cares not at all for those things 
which women love. She does not trouble in the least 
about her appearance, although she is not ugly and is 
well-made." From which it will be gathered that Mile. 
d'Orleans was a young lady of a very independent turn 
of mind. 

To explain the supposed return of Mile. d'Orleans to 
religious ideas, from which, as a matter of fact, she had 
never departed, the gossiping chroniclers of the time 
relate two anecdotes, neither of which appears to rest 
upon any serious foundation. 

One is that she had conceived too warm an admira- 
tion for the talents of her singing-master, Cauchereau, 
" who possessed intelligence and an agreeable counte- 
nance," 1 and that one evening, when she visited the 
Opera, with her mother, to witness a representation of 
Lulli's Atys, and the popular tenor was surpassing him- 
self in the rendering of a very passionate morceau, she 
cried out, in an ecstasy of emotion : " Ah ! mon cher 
Cauchereau ! " and then, overcome by emotion, swooned 
away in the box. Whereupon the Duchesse d'Orleans, who 
" found her daughter's exclamation a little too expres- 
sive," 2 forthwith decided that the convent was the only 
safe place for her. 

The other is that she fell deeply in love with the 
Chevalier de Saint-Maixent, one of the King's pages, who 
had saved her from an accident at the chase, at the cost 
of an injury which nearly proved fatal, and did everything 
in her power to persuade her parents to allow her to 
marry him ; and that, when they very naturally refused 

1 Duclos, Chroniqaes indiscretes sur la Regence, 
* Ibid. 


to countenance so startling a mesalliance, the desire of 
taking the veil returned to her. 

Facts, as the princess's most authoritative biographer 
is at pains to show, 1 absolutely contradict these romantic 
incidents. Never had Mile. d'Orleans renounced her 
projects. If, in October 1715, Dangeau records in his 
Journal the rumour that she had changed her intentions, 
on December 23 he mentions that " she persists in 
becoming a nun " ; and from that time he scarcely 
ever refers to her without insisting on the perseverance 
of her vocation. Thus, on February 26, 1716, he ob- 
serves : " She persists in the desire of becoming a nun 
and appears more than ever in devotion." And a few 
days later (March 3), after recording her presence at the 
Opera-ball, he adds : " Despite all the amusements that 
they give her, she persists in wishing to be a nun." 
On her side, Madame is not less explicit. ' She persists 
in wishing to be a nun," she writes on August 12, 1716. 

What, however, if it did not influence her decision, 
undoubtedly precipitated the entry of Mile. d'Orleans 
into religion, was the pressure brought to bear upon her 
by her mother to induce her to wed the Prince de Dombes. 
The Duchesse d'Orleans employed every imaginable per- 
suasion to obtain the princess's consent to this cherished 
project ; but the latter, who did not feel the least inclina- 
tion for the husband chosen for her, and was secretly 
encouraged in her resistance by Madame, who detested 
everything which savoured of bastardy, was firm in 
her refusal. Finding persuasion of no avail, the angry 
duchess determined to overcome the girl's obstinacy by 
other means, and, while caressing her third daughter, 

1 Edouard de Barthelemy, les Filles du Regent. 


Mile, de Valois, whom, in default of her sister, she in- 
tended to marry to the Prince de Dombes, treated 
Mile. d'Orleans so harshly that her position speedily 
became intolerable, and she entreated the Regent to 
allow her to take the veil with the least possible delay. 
" What induced the poor demoiselle d'Orleans to become 
a nun," writes Madame, " is simply the little affection 
she experienced from her mother, and her fear that she 
would be tormented in order to make her marry the 
eldest son of the Due du Maine. She preferred to retire 
from the world than to risk drawing upon her all her 
mother's hatred." 1 

Philippe d'Orleans had raised no objection to his 
second daughter's project, when it had been first an- 
nounced, some two or three years before ; but, since her 
return to Paris, he had become attached to the girl, and 
now endeavoured to prevail upon her to renounce it. 
He hoped to find in marriage an argument against the 
tenacity with which she clung to her vocation, but no 
prince presented himself capable of arousing in her 
even a passing interest. 

At length, at the beginning of the autumn of 1716, 
Mile. d'Orleans, finding that her father still refused to give 
his consent, determined to dispense with it. She was then 
staying with her mother and grandmother at Saint-Cloud, 
and one evening demanded permission to pay a visit to 
her old friends at the Abbey of Chelles. Madame had 
her suspicions, but the Duchesse d'Orleans did not share 
them, and granted her daughter's request. Early next 
morning (September 14), the princess set out for Chelles, 
accompanied by her soas-gouvernante, Madame des 

1 Letter of October 9, 1718. 


Bordes, who was to bring her back the same evening. 
But Madame des Bordes returned alone, bringing with 
her a letter from her charge addressed to her relatives, 
in which she informed them that " it had always been 
her intention to become a nun at Chelles, and that, being 
more determined upon it than ever, she had decided to 
remain there and never leave the convent again." 1 A 
letter of Madame, written some four years later, has 
preserved for us the details of this incident. 

" Never have I seen the abbess [Mile. d'Orleans] more 
light-hearted than the day on which she took this resolu- 
tion and announced it to her family. She had been for 
a ride on horseback with her sister [Mile, de Valois], and 
had not for a long time been so amused, at any rate in 
appearance. At eight o'clock in the evening, she came 
to my apartments with her mother, and we played cards 
until supper-time. After supper, I proposed to play 
again, but Madame d'Orleans asked me to go into her 
cabinet, and Mile. d'Orleans followed us there. This 
young lady, falling on her knees, begged us to allow her 
to go to Chelles, to perform her devotions there. I said 
to her : ' My daughter, one can perform one's devotions 
anywhere ; the place is a matter of perfect indifference ; 
the preparation of the soul is the essential thing.' But she 
remained on her knees and reiterated her entreaties. 
I said to her mother : ' Make up your mind ; do you wish 
your daughter to go to Chelles or not ? ' Madame 
d'Orleans replied : ' She cannot be prevented from 
going there to perform her devotions.' Accordingly, 
on the morrow, at seven o'clock in the morning, the young 
lady set out thither, and immediately sent back her 

1 Journal de Dangeau, September 14, 171 6. 


carriage, with a letter addressed to her father, her mother, 
and myself, wherein she took leave of us and informed 
us of her resolve not to leave this convent again." 1 

According to Madame, the Duchesse d'Orleans re- 
ceived the news with equanimity ; doubtless, she had 
by this time recognised the futility of attempting to 
coerce her daughter into accepting the husband she 
desired to impose upon her, and considered that the 
girl's retirement into a convent would free her from a 
good deal of unwelcome responsibility. The Regent, on 
the contrary, was very angry, indeed, and on the follow- 
ing morning set off for Chelles in a post-chaise, in the 
hope of persuading the fugitive to return. His arguments, 
however, were powerless to shake the latter's resolution, 
and she even seized the occasion to admonish her father 
very severely on the scandalous life he was leading, which, 
she declared, was one of the principal reasons which had 
determined her to enter religion. 

For more than four months after the return of 
Mile. d'Orleans to Chelles, the Regent firmly refused to 
authorise his daughter taking any further steps towards 
her vocation ; but, at length, towards the end of the 
following March, he consented to her entering the 
noviciate. The young lady lost no time in availing herself 
of the permission so tardily accorded, and a few days 
later (March 31, 1717) she took the habit, in the presence 
of her father and mother. " Her behaviour was firm 
and edifying," writes Saint-Simon, " and everything 
passed off before as few persons as possible and with the 
utmost simplicity." 

The Due d'Orleans gave the illustrious novice a pen- 

1 Letter of September 15, 1723. 


sion of 10,000 livres and a further sum to be expended 
in alms and oblations. 

Notwithstanding that he had, to all appearance, sur- 
rendered to his daughter's wishes, the Regent was, in 
reality, very far from reconciled to her retirement from 
the world, and at the beginning of September he re- 
appeared at Chelles and made another attempt to induce 
her to renounce her resolution ; but to no purpose. To- 
wards the end of the same month, Mile. d'Orleans re- 
ceived a visit from the Duchesse de Berry, who came 
charged with a commission from the Due d'Orleans to 
persuade her sister to allow herself to be nominated 
Abbess of Montmartre, on which condition she would 
be authorised to pronounce her vows forthwith. It is 
not clear what object the Regent had in making this pro- 
posal, unless it was to have his daughter as near him as 
possible and under the eye of the Duchesse d'Orleans, 
who had an apartment at Montmartre, to which she was 
in the habit of frequently retiring. But Mile. d'Orleans 
naturally foresaw incessant difficulties from the proximity 
of her mother, and she, with well-assumed modesty, 
declined the offer, on the ground that " before thinking 
of commanding, it was necessary for her to learn how to 

In the first days of 1718, the Due d'0rl6ans came 
again to Chelles, only to find his daughter " persisting 
still in her desire to be a nun," as did Madame, who paid 
her a visit some weeks later. The novice earnestly en- 
treated the latter to use her influence with the Regent 
to secure permission for her to pronounce her vows 
after Easter, and to this Madame appears to have given 
a reluctant consent; any way, on April 20, the Due 


d'Orleans authorised his daughter to make her profession 
as soon as she had completed her twentieth year, that 
is to say, in the following August. It is worthy of remark 
that the young lady was so fearful of her father changing 
his mind that nothing would content her but a permission 
written and signed by him. Nevertheless, the Regent had 
not yet abandoned all hope, and on July 19 he arrived 
at Chelles, accompanied by the Archbishop of Paris, the 
Cardinal de Noailles, to make a supreme effort to over- 
come the resolution of Mile. d'Orleans. But he found 
her, if possible, more inflexible than ever, and, as in the 
face of the solemn promises he had made her, he felt 
unable to offer any further opposition, the taking of the 
veil was fixed for August 20. 

" Mademoiselle," writes Dangeau, " made her pro- 
fession at Chelles, and edified every one by the devotion, 
the courage, and the joy which she displayed on this 
occasion. 1 She resisted Madame s letters and the en- 
treaties which M. Terrat 2 addressed to her on behalf of 
the Due d'Orleans." 

The ceremony was performed by the Cardinal de 
Noailles, who profited by the occasion to deliver a dis- 
course which " greatly edified the illustrious persons who 
heard him." These illustrious persons did not include 
any member of the Orleans family, the duke absenting 
himself from annoyance ; Madame, because she " did not 
desire to be distressed to the point of tears," 3 and the 

1 Madame had continued her efforts up to the last moment. In a 
letter written on the day of the ceremony she says that she had made 
to her granddaughter " all the representations that she had been able 
to imagine to turn her from this bad resolution." 

2 Chancellor of the Due d'Orleans. 

3 Letter of September 6, 1718. 


duchess and her daughters, because apparently it was too 
much trouble for them to make the journey. 

The Regent, however, behaved very liberally, in view 
of the fact that his daughter had acted in direct opposition 
to his wishes. He sent to the abbey a sum of 100,000 livres 
for the dowry of the illustrious nun, gave the latter 
30,000 to dispense in alms, and continued her pension 
of 10,000 livres. 

Saint-Simon accuses Mile. d'Orleans of having adopted 
the religious life " through ill-humour, childishness and 
caprice," and the charge is repeated by several historians 
who have followed him. In this, however, they do the 
princess a grave injustice, for, as we have seen, her resolve 
to enter religion was one which dated from the time of her 
first sojourn at Chelles, and in which she had stubbornly 
persisted ever since, notwithstanding the strenuous op- 
position she had had to encounter. Without doubt, 
the ill-advised efforts of her mother to force her into a 
marriage with the Prince de Dombes, and her distress 
at the dissipated life led by her father and at the still 
more scandalous conduct of her elder sister, served to 
confirm this resolve, and to hasten her retirement to the 
cloister, where she hoped to find peace and security. But, 
even if her relatives had been all that could be desired, 
we see no reason to suppose that she would have been 
content to remain in the world, for everything points to 
a religious vocation incontestably serious. 

Mile. d'Orleans would appear, therefore, to have en- 
tered — or rather re-entered — the Abbey of Chelles with 
the most sincere convictions and with an earnest desire 
to do her duty humbly and faithfully in the life to which 
she felt herself called. But she did not continue long 


in this laudable resolution, for, even with the best inten- 
tions, it was very difficult for a young woman of her inde- 
pendence of character, and, moreover, a Princess of the 
Blood, to render for any length of time that implicit 
obedience demanded from subordinate members of a 
religious community. " So long as she had been obliged 
to struggle," writes one of her biographers, " the religious 
thought dominated her, by absorbing all other sentiments ; 
but, from the day when the princess had triumphed over 
all obstacles, from the day when the grating of the cloister 
had fallen for ever upon her, in placing an insurmount- 
able barrier between the world and her, a secret movement 
perhaps introduced itself into her mind, which inspired 
her with the desire to recover a little of the power which 
she was losing by her renunciation." 1 In fact, after 
a few months of retreat, Soeur Sainte-Bathilde, by which 
name the princess was now known, revealed herself as 
ambitious, restless and dissatisfied, with a marked ten- 
dency towards Jansenism, and with an affection for 
worldly things which positively horrified the more devout 
sisters. " She was unable to remain except as ruler," 
writes Saint-Simon, with only too much justice this 
time, " in the place to which she had come in order 
to obey." 

The Abbess of Chelles was, as we have mentioned in 
a previous chapter, Madame de Villars, an estimable 
woman, but exceedingly tenacious of her dignity and 
a stern disciplinarian. For these reasons she was very 
far from popular with a section of the community, par- 
ticularly among those who held Jansenist views, which 
were anathema to the abbess, a lady of the most rigid 

1 £douard de Barthelemy, les Filles du Rigent. 


orthodoxy ; and nothing would have better pleased 
these malcontents than to see their superior translated to 
some other sphere of usefulness. Of that, however, 
there seemed little probability, and the malcontents were 
obliged to resign themselves to her domination with the 
best grace they could assume, until the arrival of the 
young princess in their midst offered them a means of 
escape. Perceiving the growing dissatisfaction of the new 
recluse with the humble position which she occupied, they 
skilfully exploited it, and laboured incessantly to inspire 
her with ambitious ideas, and persuade her that the first 
place at Chelles was the only one compatible with her 
illustrious birth. In this little conspiracy they had the 
active assistance of Pere Ledoux, the almoner of the 
abbey, a learned Benedictine, but an ardent Jansenist ; 
and in a surprisingly short time the scruples of the 
princess vanished, and she allowed herself to become the 
leader of a party whose avowed object was to drive 
Madame de Villars into surrendering her post in favour 
of a girl of twenty-one. 

The abbess, becoming suspicious, sent for Sceur Sainte- 
Bathilde and questioned her closely. The latter, not 
yet ready for open hostilities, endeavoured to dissipate 
her suspicions by making jest of the rumours which had 
reached the reverend Mother's ears. But she had counted 
without her allies, who desired to hasten matters, and 
began to conduct themselves in a manner which left no 
doubt as to their intentions. In a few weeks the con- 
vent, ordinarily so peaceful, was in a veritable ferment. 
The abbess, sustained by the elder nuns, endeavoured 
to assert her authority ; but the younger members of the 
community were in full revolt, and the situation speedily 


became so intolerable that she decided to abandon the 

On March 26, 1719 — that is to say, only seven months 
after Mile. d'Orleans had taken her vows — Dangeau writes 
in his Journal : " People are beginning to say that the 
Abbess of Chelles, who is sister of the Marechal de Villars, 
will resign her abbey, and that Mile. d'Orleans, who is a 
nun in that house, will become abbess. I even believe that 
some steps have already been taken with the Pope to 
obtain the bulls." 

On April 12, the same chronicler records that the 
Due d'Orleans, accompanied by the Cardinal de Noailles, 
had gone to Chelles, and that every one believed that 
Mademoiselle had been declared abbess, while Madame 
de Villars was receiving a retiring pension of 12,000 livres. 
" This is not yet settled," he adds, " but there is every 
appearance that it soon will be." 

The affair had, in point of fact, been decided that 
same day. Madame de Villars had agreed to resign her 
post, and had accepted a pension of the amount stated 
and a lodging at the Abbey of Panthemont, near her 
brother's hotel, by way of compensation ; Mile. d'Orleans 
was to become abbess in her stead, as soon as the necessary 
formalities could be completed, and, in the meantime, to 
avoid any further friction with the retiring superior, 
" whose haughtiness," says Madame, " she was unable 
to support," she was to retire to the Val-de-Grace. She 
arrived there on April 21, where she was visited by the 
Duchesse d'Orleans, who had consistently supported 
Madame de Villars, because the Marechal de Villars was 
one of the most devoted partisans of the Due du Maine, 
and was furious at her daughter's victory. A most vio- 


lent scene followed. " She [the Duchesse d'Orleans] said 
that she would never pardon her daughter for having 
arranged with the duke, unknown to her, to become 
abbess. The nun replied that, since her mother had 
always taken the part of the late abbess against her, 
she had not confided to her the secret, because she 
would have opposed it. Then the mother began to weep 
bitterly, and declared that she was very unhappy with 
her husband and children ; that her husband was the 
most unjust man in the world, since he kept in captivity 
his brother-in-law, 1 the best and most pious man in the 
world — a saint— and that God would punish him. The 
daughter having replied that respect imposed silence 
upon her, the mother became still more furious." 2 

In the second week in May, Madame de Villars quitted 
Chelles, upon which the nuns immediately proceeded to 
elect Mile. d'Orleans in her place, and a courier was 
despatched to Rome to obtain the bulls of confirmation. 
These reached Paris in the middle of June, but owing 
to a family bereavement, of which we shall speak in the 
succeeding chapter, the consecration of the new abbess 
did not take place until September 14. 3 Madame, who 

1 On December 29, 1718, the Due du Maine had been arrested for 
his share in the Cellamare conspiracy, and imprisoned in the Chateau 
of Doullens. 

2 Correspondance complete de Madame, Duchesse d'Orldans, Letter 
of May 5, 1718. 

3 Mile. d'Orleans — or, rather, Madame d'Orleans, as she was now 
called in the world — had, however, returned to Chelles on June 25, 
escorted by her sister, Mile, de Valois, and Madame d'£pinay, one of 
her mother's ladies-in-waiting, whom Dangeau tells us she " entertained 
to supper and a display of fireworks " (!). The same chronicler relates, 
under date August 14, that she had been joined by Mile, de la Roche- 
sur-Yon, daughter of the Princesse de Conti, who, having obtained 
permission to come to Chelles, on the pretext of paying a visit to the 
new abbess, had sent back word that she intended to remain there and 


assisted at this ceremony, which was invested with all 
the pomp imaginable, has left us an interesting account 
of it: 

" I promised to give you an account of my journey 
to Chelles. I started on Thursday, at seven o'clock, with 
the Duchesse de Brancas, Madame de Chasteautier and 
Madame de Ratzamhausen ; and arrived at half-past ten. 
My grandson, the Due de Chartres, had already arrived ; 
my son arrived a quarter of an hour later, and then 
Mile, de Valois. Madame d'Orleans had caused herself 
to be bled for the express purpose of not coming. She 
and the abbess are not very good friends, and, besides, 
her extreme indolence would have prevented her from 
incommoding herself and rising a little early. We went 
to the church ; the abbess's prie-Dieu was placed in the 
choir of the nuns ; it was draped with violet velvet 
covered all over with gold fleurs-de-lis ; my prie-Dieu 
was against the balustrade ; my son and daughter 1 were 
behind the pulpit, for the Princes of the Blood may not 
kneel on my carpet, that being a right reserved for the 
grandsons of France. All the King's musicians were in 
the tribune ; the Cardinal de Noailles celebrated Mass. 
The altar is very beautiful ; it is formed of black and 
white marble. There are four statues of white marble 
representing saintly abbesses, and one bears so striking 
a resemblance to our abbess that one would believe that 
it was her portrait. It was, however, made before my 
granddaughter was born, for she is only twenty-one 

become a nun. However, the young lady's resolution failed her after 
a few days, and, in response to the maternal entreaties, she consented 
to return home. 

1 Charlotte Elisabeth d'Orleans, wife of Leopold I., Duke of 


years old. Twelve monks of her Order [the Benedictine], 
wearing superb chasubles, came to serve Mass. After 
the cardinal had read the Epistle, the Master of the 
Ceremonies entered the choir of the nuns and brought 
back the abbess. She came, looking exceedingly well, 
followed by two abbesses and half a dozen nuns of her 
convent ; made a low reverence to the altar and to myself, 
and knelt before the cardinal, who was seated in a great 
arm-chair before the altar. They brought, with due 
ceremony, the confession of faith, which she read, and 
after the cardinal had recited a number of prayers, he 
gave her a book, which contained the rules of her con- 
vent. She then returned to her place, and when they 
had read the Credo and the offertory, she came to the 
offering, accompanied by the abbesses and her nuns. 
They brought for the offering two large candles and two 
loaves, one of which was gilt and the other silver. After 
the cardinal had communicated, she returned to kneel 
before him, and he gave her the cross. He reconducted 
her to her seat, not to her prie-Dieu, but to her abbess's 
seat, which was a kind of throne, surmounted by a 
Princess of the Blood's dais, covered with fleurs-de-lis. 
As soon as she was seated, the trumpets and the hautboys 
sounded, and the cardinal, followed by all his priests, 
placed himself by the altar on the left side, his cross in 
his hand, and they sang the Te Deum. All the nuns then 
arrived two by two, and approached to show their sub- 
mission to their abbess, by making her a low reverence. 
That reminded me of the honours which were paid to 
Atys, when they made him high-priest of Cybele, for 
they also came two by two to salute him. I thought 
that they were going to sing, as in the opera. After the 


Te Deum we entered the convent, and at half an hour 
after midday we sat down to table, my son, my grandson 
the Due de Chartres, the Princesse Victoire de Soissons, 
the young demoiselle d'Auvergne, daughter of the Due 
d'Albret, and the three ladies who were with me. The 
abbess placed herself by my side in her refectory, at 
a table of forty covers, with her sister Mile, de Valois, 
the two ladies who accompanied her, twelve abbesses, 
and all the other nuns of the convent. It was amusing 
to see all the black robes round the table. My son's 
people served a very splendid repast, and the populace 
was allowed to pillage the dessert and the sweetmeats 
after dinner was over." 


Visit of the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine to Paris — Magnificent fete 
in their honour at the Luxembourg — An unbidden guest — Atten- 
tions paid by the Duchesse de Berry to the Duchess of Lorraine — 
Reconciliation between Madame and her granddaughter — Altera- 
tion in the latter 's conduct towards her mother — She " greatly 
edifies " the Carmelites during the Holy Week of 171 8 — Fetes in 
honour of the Duchesse de Berry at Chantilly — Ungracious be- 
haviour of the princess — She resumes her effort to usurp the honours 
of a queen — Indignation of the public — Protests of the Corps 
Diplomatique — She becomes enceinte — Her efforts to conceal her 
condition — She gives birth to a daughter, and her life is in serious 
danger — Refusal of the Sacraments by the cure of Saint-Sulpice 
and the Cardinal de Noailles — The princess recovers — Her secret 
marriage with Rion — Consideration of the question whether this 
event took place before or after her illness. 

AT the beginning of 1718, Leopold I. of Lorraine, who 
-L~\- had married the Regent's sister, Charlotte Elisa- 
beth d'Orleans, came to Paris, to render homage to 
Louis XV. for his duchy of Bar. He was accompanied 
by his wife and also by his mistress, Madame de Craon, 
a lady upon whom Madame makes some piquant observa- 
tions in her letters to her German friends. The Duchesse 
de Berry showed herself extremely attentive to the dis- 
tinguished visitors. On their arrival, she placed in the 
duchess's chamber at the Palais-Royal a superb commode, 
filled with scarves, aprons, handkerchiefs, fichus and 
ribbons, "with a deshabille and every other similar kind 
of present " ; she entertained them to dinner and supper, 
and on February 28 she gave in their honour, at the 
Luxembourg, a fete which surpassed in prodigal splen- 



dour anything which Paris had witnessed for years, and 
to a description of which the Nouveau Mercure conse- 
crated a considerable part of its February and March 
numbers. 1 

" It was of an extraordinary magnificence and admir- 
ably arranged," writes Dangeau. " There was a table of 
one hundred and twenty-five covers for the ladies, and 
other tables for at least as many men. The Princes of 
the Blood supped at the ladies' table. The ladies who 
supped with the Duchesse de Berry were all magnificently 
dressed, and she had even requested those who were in 
mourning to lay it aside for that day. M. de Lorraine did 
not take his rank, but sat down to supper among the 
ladies, to preserve his incognito. The Palais du Luxem- 
bourg was splendidly illuminated both within and 
without, and a more superb and better ordered fete 
had never been seen. All who were present say marvellous 
things about it." 

This sumptuous fete did not pass off without one of 

1 The sumptuousness and variety of the menu was such that the 
editor was inspired to describe it in verse : 

" Des filets minces d'aloyau, 
Des gendarmes au jus de veau, 
Petits dindons aux ciboulettes, 
Et des anchois en allumettes, 
Poulets de grains, mets excellent, 
Cuits derriere le pot cassant, 
Pigeon au soleil, chose exquise, 
Des cotelettes en surprise, etc." 

We are also informed that the first course consisted of 31 kinds 
of soup, 60 entrees, and 132 hors d'ceuvres ; the second and third 
of 132 hot side-dishes and 60 cold ; the dessert, or the fruit, as it 
was called at this period, of 100 baskets of fresh fruit, 94 of dried 
fruits, 50 salvers of iced fruit, and 106 compotes ; that the dishes 
and plates were carried by 200 Swiss, and that 132 lackeys were com- 
missioned to keep the glasses of the company filled. 


those scandals which seem to have been inseparable from 
everything which the Duchesse de Berry did. During 
supper, the princess was informed that four persons who 
had not been invited, " and were not fit to be," had 
boldly installed themselves at the men's table. One 
of them was a certain Foucault de Magny, an eccentric 
personage, " mad with vanity," who, after being dis- 
missed from the intendancy of Caen, for " many and 
gross knaveries," 1 had lately purchased from the Baron 
de Breteuil the post of introducer of the Ambassadors, 
in virtue of which office he appears to have considered 
himself invited to the fete. 2 Highly indignant, the 
princess despatched Saumery, her first maUre-d 'hotel, to 
order the intruders to retire immediately. Three of them 
obeyed, and withdrew without making any disturbance ; 
but " M. de Magny received the reprimand very ill, and 
answered M. de Saumery so insolently that the latter 
seized him by the cravat to conduct him to the Duchesse 
de Berry." 3 A violent scuffle ensued, which ended in 
Magny wrenching himself free and effecting his escape 
from the Luxembourg. Next day, he expressed himself 
in such vigorous terms in regard to the Duchesse de Berry, 
that the princess applied for a lettre de cachet, and before 
night M. de Magny found himself in the Bastille. He 
only remained there until March 12, when he was set at 

1 Saint-Simon. 

2 The Ambassadors had been duly invited, but they did not go, 
since their pretension to sit at the same table as the Princes of the 
Blood was not admitted. Had they attended, Magny would, of course, 
have accompanied them, and he might, therefore, claim to have been 
included in their invitation. The Duchesse de Berry's orders to him 
to withdraw were, no doubt, the result of her annoyance at the refusal 
of the Ambassadors to grace her fete with their presence. 

3 Dangeau, February 28, 1718. 


liberty, at the request of the duchess ; but he received 
orders to resign his post as introducer of the Ambassadors, 
and altogether appears to have found his supper at the 
Luxembourg a somewhat costly repast. 

The Due and Duchesse de Lorraine remained in 
Paris until April 8, and the Duchesse de Berry continued 
her attentions to them up to the end ; indeed, on the 
night before their departure, notwithstanding that the 
Duchesse de Lorraine had paid her a formal farewell visit 
some hours before, she went to the Palais-Royal to em- 
brace her aunt once more. In acting thus, the princess 
was seeking to please Madame, who was devoted to her 
daughter. She had lately come to the conclusion that she 
had committed a grave error in alienating her grand- 
mother, in view of the affection which the Regent enter- 
tained for the latter and the not inconsiderable influence 
which she enjoyed ; and she had eagerly seized so favour- 
able an opportunity of recovering her good graces. Her 
pains were not wasted. " I am very satisfied with my 
granddaughter," writes the old princess, " she has 
behaved very well towards my children of Lorraine. 
She has sense, and manifests an inclination to return to 
religion and a disgust of vice. I trust that God will 
have compassion upon her and will accord her the grace 
of a sincere conversion." 1 

The Duchesse de Berry did not fail to follow up her 
success, and the affection and respect she showed for her 
grandmother appear quite to have won the old lady's 
heart. " She conducts herself very well towards me," 
she writes at the end of May, " and forgets nothing to 
show her affection. I love her sincerely." And three 

1 Letter of March 31, 171 8. 


weeks later : "I should be very ungrateful if I had no 
attachment for her, for she testifies the greatest possible 
affection for me, and often shows me so much attention 
that I am quite touched." 1 

For some time past, too, the Duchesse de Berry's 
conduct towards her mother had shown a marked im- 
provement, and when, in March, 1718, the Duchesse 
d'Orleans was taken somewhat seriously ill, she became 
quite a devoted daughter. She discontinued her card- 
parties at the Luxembourg, installed herself at the Palais- 
Royal, and nursed the sick woman " with all the zeal 
of a sceur grise." 2 " It would be impossible," writes 
Dangeau, " to testify more affection and attachment than 
the Duchesse de Berry has shown for her mother during 
this illness." 3 

This remarkable alteration in the conduct of the 
princess synchronized with outward manifestations of 
the most pronounced piety. She passed all the Holy 
Week of 1718 with the Carmelites of the Faubourg Saint- 
Jacques, and " greatly edified them. She received the 
Sacrament on the Thursday and the Friday ; she fasted 
on bread and water." 4 In June, she returned to Paris 
from La Muette, where she was, as usual, spending the 
summer, for the solemnities of the Feast of Corpus 
Christi, and " edified all the public in the procession." 
She visited the Carmelites three times during the month 
of July ; twice in August, and spent a week with them 
at the beginning of September. And yet all the time 
her liaison with Rion continued ; indeed, their relations 

1 Letters of May 29 and June 21, 1718. 

2 Madame, Letter of June 21, 1718. 

3 Journal, March 22, 1718. 

4 Dangeau. 


were, if possible, more open than ever. This apparently 
amazing inconsistency is, however, as we shall presently 
see, capable of a very simple explanation. 

On August 26, 1718, a Bed of Justice was held, and 
a decree registered reducing the Due du Maine and his 
younger brother, the Comte de Toulouse, from the rank 
of Princes of Blood to that of simple peers, and taking 
away from the latter the superintendence of the young 
King's education. The abolition of the monstrous privi- 
leges accorded by Louis XIV. to his natural sons gave 
the greatest satisfaction to the Princes of the Blood ; 
and the Due de Bourbon, desirous of showing his grati- 
tude, thought that he could not do better than by giving 
a superb fete — or rather series of fetes — in honour of the 
Duchesse de Berry at that magnificent chateau the em- 
bellishment of which had been one of the first cares of four 
generations of Condes. 

The princess arrived at Chantilly in the evening of 
Sunday, September 25, accompanied by a Court of 
twenty-three ladies, who had been " nominated " by her, 
and, bien entendu, the Chevalier de Rion, and was 
received with sovereign honours. Immediately on her 
arrival, supper was served, Monsieur le Due being the 
only man to have the privilege of sitting at the table 
of the Duchesse de Berry. Supper over, the company 
adjourned to the salon, where the card-tables had been 
set out, and play for very high stakes went on far into 
the night. 

The following day was devoted to a walk in the gardens; 
and the Due de Bourbon caused an agreeable surprise 
by distributing groups of musicians in different parts of 
the labyrinth, in the centre of which a sumptuous " colla- 


tion " had been prepared. While this was being par- 
taken of, unseen vocalists sang a cantatilla composed for 
the occasion by Cauchereau, in praise of the Duchesse de 
Berry, which must have been a welcome novelty to the 
princess who had so often excited the malicious wit of 
the chansonniers. In the evening, the card-tables again 
claimed the attention of the company, and there was 
also a grand concert, under the direction of Valette, the 
choirmaster of Senlis Cathedral. Tuesday was occupied 
by a stag-hunt ; the curee 1 in the evening took place by 
the light of torches and fireworks. 

On Wednesday, a visit was paid to Monsieur le Dues 
menagerie, one of the finest private " zoos " in Europe, 
where the Duchesse de Berry was much interested by the 
sight of a full-grown lion playing with a bitch by whom 
he had been suckled when a cub. 2 In the evening, an 
Italian opera was performed, and was followed by a 
grand supper in the Galerie des Cerfs, which had been 
splendidly illuminated. 

1 The curie was the ceremony of throwing the entrails of the quarry- 
to the hounds, who, after being loosed, were frequently called back by 
the piqueurs, in order to show how well disciplined and under what 
complete control they were. It was still in vogue in the time of 
Napoleon III. An interesting account of a curee at Compiegne in 1866 
is given by Madame de Hegermann-Lindencrone in her recently pub- 
lished memoirs, In the Courts of Memory (Harpers). 

2 Apropos of this menagerie, an alarming incident occurred during 
the visit of the Duchesse de Berry to Chantilly. One day, while a 
number of the duke's guests were strolling about the gardens, a mag- 
nificent tiger, which had escaped from its cage, suddenly made its 
appearance upon the scene, to their unutterable consternation. 
Certain chroniclers assert that Rion bravely confronted the animal, 
and kept it at bay until its keeper arrived, when, surprised by the 
tumult its presence was occasioning, it allowed itself to be recaptured, 
and that this courageous act increased the passion of the princess 
for her favourite. But Saint-Simon says nothing about the chevalier, 
and ascribes the fortunate termination of what might have been 
a tragic affair to the presence of mind of the keeper. 


The two following days were occupied by card-parties 
and another sumptuous supper; and on the Saturday there 
was a stag-hunt in the forest of Halatte, which continued 
after darkness had fallen, the Due de Bourbon having 
caused wax-torches, " costing six livres apiece," to be 
attached to thirty thousand trees in the forest. On the 
Sunday, the company dispersed, and the Duchesse de 
Berry and her Court returned to Paris. 

Despite the splendour of these fetes, despite all the 
honours which were paid to her and the unceasing atten- 
tions not only of the Due de Bourbon, but also of her 
old enemy, Madame la Duchesse the elder, 1 the Duchesse 
de Berry, if we are to believe Saint-Simon, behaved in a 
most ungracious fashion. " It would have been im- 
possible for her," he says, "to be treated with more 
magnificence and more honour, or to have been enter- 
tained by a greater diversity of ingenious and charming 
fetes, and it would have been impossible for her to 
receive the honours of which she was the object with more 
haughtiness and indifference, or to show more constraint 
and ennui. And he adds that, during the whole of her 
stay at Chantilly, she did not address a word to the young 
wife of the Due de Bourbon (Marie Anne de Bourbon- 
Conti), because she refused to pardon her for having 
opposed, several years previously, the marriage of the 
Prince de Conti to Mile, de Valois. 

At the end of October, the Duchesse de Berry persuaded 
her father to allow her to exchange the Chateau of Am- 

1 In order to please the Duchesse de Berry, Madame la Duchesse 
commissioned her lover, or secret husband, the Marquis de Lassay, 
to take charge of Rion, and see that he had everything he required. 
A special table was assigned the favourite, and a carriage and relays 
of horses placed at his disposal. 


boise, which had been assigned her as a country-residence 
by her marriage-contract, but which she had never cared 
to occupy, for that of Meudon, and lost no time in dis- 
missing its governor, Du Mont, an old and valued servant 
of Monseigneur, and conferring the post upon Rion. 
Having installed herself at the Luxembourg for the winter, 
she began to affect more sovereign airs than ever, and on 
December 7, at a representation of the Semiramis of 
Destouches, she repeated the attempt which she had 
made in the first months of the Regency to usurp the 
honours of a queen at the Opera. This time, she did not 
appear in a box, but engaged a part of the amphitheatre, 
which she caused to be railed off — " in order that the 
rest of the seats might not be confused with those which 
she had retained "* — and sat there, enthroned in an arm- 
chair placed upon an estrade, in the midst of a Court 
of some thirty ladies. The indignation which the re- 
newal of the princess's pretensions aroused was increased 
by the inconvenience which this arrangement occasioned 
the public, and by the fact that the Due and Duchesse 
d'Orleans were present in their box, and thus appeared 
to authorise their daughter's enterprise. 

The Duchesse de Berry did not dare to repeat this 
performance, but shortly afterwards she was guilty of 
a much more serious violation of established usage. 

It was the custom for new Ambassadors, after pre- 
senting their credentials to the Regent, to go in state 
to the Luxembourg to salute the princess, as the first 
lady in the land. One day, having to receive the Venetian 
Ambassador, the Duchesse de Berry caused her arm-chair 
to be placed on an estrade of three steps — a right which 

1 Dangeau, December 7, 1718. 


has never been claimed by the Queens of France, who, 
at these audiences, were accustomed to sit without even 
a carpet under their feet. The ladies present could not 
conceal their astonishment ; while the Ambassador stood 
for some moments as though at a loss what to do. Finally, 
he approached the " throne," bowed to its occupant, and, 
after another embarrassing pause, turned his back upon 
the princess and retired, without having addressed to her 
a single word. 

A meeting of the Corps Diplomatique was at once 
convened, and the same evening a unanimous protest 
was sent to the Regent, in which he was informed 
that no Foreign Minister would in future visit the 
Duchesse de Berry, unless he had first assured himself 
that an enterprise of this kind would not be repeated. 
The Ambassadors, in fact, abstained from presenting 
themselves at the Luxembourg for some weeks, nor 
would they consent to return until they had received 
the most positive assurance that such a thing should never 
happen again. 

These adventures provided the satirists with material 
of which they were not slow to avail themselves, and 
produced a fresh crop of chansons, caricatures and pamph- 
lets at the expense of the princess. But, offensive as 
most of these were, they were innocuous in comparison 
with the obscenities provoked in the first weeks of 
1719 by the rumour that an interesting event was ere 
long expected at the Luxembourg. 

The rumour was only too true, and the efforts which 
the Duchesse de Berry was making to conceal her con- 
dition, with which object she had been leading an even 
gayer life than usual — visits to the Opera-balls, unwhole- 


some suppers, " washed down by wine and strong 
liqueurs," 1 high play, often prolonged until the small 
hours of the morning, and so forth, had ill prepared her 
for what, in those days of unskilled surgeons, was always 
attended with very considerable danger. As the time 
approached, the princess shut herself up in a small room 
at the extremity of her apartments at the Luxembourg, 
which was very conveniently situated for secret visits. 
None but Rion, Madame de Mouchy, and a waiting- 
woman, upon whose discretion she could absolutely rely, 
had free admission to this room. The Due and Duchesse 
d' Orleans were not allowed to enter until their daughter 
had intimated her willingness to receive them ; and, of 
course, it was the same with Madame de Saint-Simon, 
the dames de compagnie on duty, the first waiting-woman, 
and the doctors. " All were admitted from time to time, 
but a bad headache or want of sleep caused them often to 
be asked to excuse her, or, if they entered, to leave directly 
afterwards. They did not press their attentions upon the 
sick woman, knowing only too well the nature of her 
malady ; but contented themselves by inquiring after her 
through Madame de Mouchy, who, holding the door ajar, 
replied to them. This ridiculous proceeding was enacted 
before the inmates of the Luxembourg, of the Palais- 
Royal, and of many other people, who, for form's sake 
or out of curiosity, came to inquire the news, and it 
became the common talk of the town." 1 

With the courage of despair, the Duchesse de Berry 
struggled up to the last to give the lie to these reports. 
On March 23, she held her usual weekly reception at the 
Luxembourg ; on the following morning, she drove to 

1 Saint-Simon. 


Meudon and passed the day there with her father ; on 
the 26th, she dined with the Carmelites. But two days 
later the duchess gave birth to a daughter, 1 and was 
soon in so critical a condition that on the 31st the Abbe 
Languet, the cure of Saint-Sulpice, urged upon the Regent 
the advisability of her receiving the Sacraments. 

The Regent hesitated to speak to his daughter on the 
matter, the more so that the cure declared before every 
one that he should refuse to administer the Sacraments, 
or to allow them to be administered, so long as Rion or 
Madame de Mouchy remained in the sick-room or even 
in the Luxembourg. 

The Due d'Orleans took the cure aside, and for a long 
time endeavoured to persuade him to give way ; but to 
no purpose. Finding him inflexible, he suggested that 
the matter should be referred to the Archbishop of 
Paris, the Cardinal de Noailles. To this Languet con- 
sented, and promised to submit to the orders of his dio- 
cesan, provided he was allowed to explain his reasons. The 
Regent no doubt flattered himself that he would find 
his Eminence more complaisant than the cure. But, if 
he did, he was soon undeceived. 

The Cardinal de Noailles arrived ; the duke took him 
aside with the cure, and their conversation lasted more 
than half an hour. As Languet 's declaration had been 
public, the prelate judged it fitting that his should be 
so also ; and, as soon as the conference terminated, pro- 
claimed, in a loud voice, before all present, that he 
warmly approved of the action the cure had taken, 
adding that he absolutely forbade, under canonical 

1 This child, according to Duclos, subsequently became a nun at 
the Abbey of Pontoise. 


penalties, any priest whatever from administering the 
Sacraments to the Duchesse de Berry, so long as Rion 
and Madame de Mouchy remained in the Luxembourg. 
" It may be imagined," continues Saint-Simon, " what 
a stir such an inevitable scandal as this caused in a room 
so full of people ; what an embarrassment it occasioned 
the Due d'Orleans, and what a noise it immediately made 
everywhere. Nobody blamed the cur6 or the archbishop ; 
some because they knew the rules of the Church and did 
not dare to impugn them ; others, the majority, from 
horror at the conduct of the Duchesse de Berry, and from 
the hatred which she had drawn upon herself by her 

The conference between the Regent and the two eccle- 
siastics recommenced, this time to decide which of them 
should undertake to communicate this determination 
to the sick woman, who, in the meanwhile, had spon- 
taneously made her confession to a Franciscan monk, 
her director at the Carmelites. After a short discussion, 
for the princess, in whom the thought of death inspired 
the most abject terror, was eagerly awaiting the Sacra- 
ments, the Cardinal and the cure stepped back, and the 
Regent, approaching the door of the sick-room, opened it 
a little way, called Madame de Mouchy, informed her of 
the decision which had been arrived at, and requested her 
to announce it to her mistress. " The Mouchy, much 
astonished and still more indignant, rode the high horse, 
talked about her merit and of the affront which the bigots 
were endeavouring to put upon her and upon the Duchesse 
de Berry, who would never surfer or consent to it, but 
would die — in the state she was — if they had the im- 
prudence and the cruelty to inform her of it." Finally, 


however, she consented to acquaint the princess with the 
resolution respecting the Sacraments ; but she took care 
to arrange matters to her own liking, for the answer 
which she presently delivered to the Regent through the 
half-open door was a blank refusal. 

The Due d'Orleans at once reported this reply to the 
archbishop and the cure. The latter merely shrugged 
his shoulders, but the archbishop reproached the prince 
with having entrusted such a person with so grave a 
mission, and urged him to intervene personally and 
exhort his daughter to do her duty as a Christian shortly 
to appear before God. The Regent, feeling that he did 
not possess the necessary courage for a scene with the 
duchess, refused ; whereupon the cardinal announced 
his intention of undertaking the task himself. The 
prince, who did not dare to forbid him, but who feared 
that the prelate's remonstrances might bring on a 
dangerous crisis, begged his Eminence to wait until 
preparations could be made to receive him. " He went, 
therefore, and held another discussion through the half- 
open door, the success of which was on a par with the 
preceding one. The Duchesse de Berry fell into a fury, 
broke out into bitter denunciations of these hypocrites, 
who took advantage of her state and their calling to dis- 
honour her by an unheard-of scandal, and did not spare 
her father for his stupidity and weakness in allowing it." 1 

The Due d'Orleans returned to the cardinal, " feeling 
very small and altogether at a loss what to do." How- 
ever, he told him that his daughter was too weak and 
in too much pain for the moment to receive him, and 
implored him to have a little patience. His Eminence 

1 Saint-Simon. 


consented, and remained for two hours, when, perceiving 
that the Regent had no intention of permitting him to 
enter the sick-room, he decided that it would be both 
useless and undignified to wait any longer, and retired ; 
but not before he had reiterated, in a loud voice, to the 
Abbe Languet his orders not to administer the Sacra- 
ments, or to allow them to be administered, until he had 
obtained the expulsion of Rion and Madame de Mouchy 
from the Luxembourg. 

" The Due d'Orleans hastened to announce to his 
daughter the departure of the Cardinal, at which he 
himself was much relieved. But, on leaving the room, he 
was astonished to find the cure glued against the door, 
and still more to hear that he had taken up his post there 
and meant to remain, happen what might, because he 
did not intend to be deceived on the subject of the 
Sacraments. And, in fact, he remained there for four 
days and four nights, except during short intervals for 
food and repose, which he took at his house, quite close 
to the Luxembourg, when his place was filled by two 
priests, whom he left there." 1 

The Duchesse de Berry, however, refused to yield, 
although during the night of April 1-2 she was so much 
worse that she was believed to be dying. 2 But in the 
morning her illness took an unexpected turn for the 
better, and on the following day she was pronounced out 
of danger. Then, and not till then, did the Abbe Languet 
and his allies raise the siege. 

1 Saint-Simon. 

2 " The Duchesse de Berry passed a very bad night, and was for 
four hours in very great danger" (Dangeau, April 2, 1719). Buvat, 
who calls the princess's illness " an apoplexy," says that she was 
" for three hours like one dead " (Journal de la Regence, April, 1719). 

Marie Louise Elisabeth d'Orlkans, 
duchesse de berry 

From a painting at Versailles by an unknown artist 
(Photo by \V. A. Mansell & Co.) 


Such is the narrative of Saint-Simon, which has been 
generally accepted by historians, but which there is the 
strongest reason to believe is quite inaccurate in one 
most important particular. The cure of Saint-Sulpice 
and the Archbishop of Paris resolutely refused the 
Sacraments to the Duchesse de Berry, so long as Rion 
and Madame de Mouchy remained at the Luxembourg, 
because they believed, as did nearly all Paris, that she 
was living in sin, and that the child to whom she had 
just given birth was a child of shame. But they could 
have had no hesitation about administering them, had 
they been in possession of what are almost certainly the 
true facts of the case. 

We have seen that the singular tactics adopted by 
Rion towards the Duchesse de Berry were the result 
of the counsels of his great-uncle, the Due de Lauzun. 
It was he who had drawn up the plan of conduct which 
compelled Rion, naturally an easy-going and agreeable 
young man, to show himself tyrannical, exacting, jealous, 
and capricious, in order to establish his empire more 
firmly and to reduce the infatuated princess to more 
complete subjection. But Lauzun went farther than this. 
Whether because he entertained a grudge against the 
Royal House for the weary years at Pinerolo to which his 
pretensions to the hand of la Grande Mademoiselle had 
brought upon him, and desired the piquant revenge which 
the union of his own nephew with its first princess would 
afford him, or because he really desired the elevation of his 
kinsman, he did not cease to represent to Rion that, until 
a secret marriage had united him to the eldest daughter 
of the Regent, his situation would remain precarious, 
because the lady was notoriously fickle in her affections, 


and did not lack soupirants ; and that if, by chance, 
one of them was to catch her changeful fancy, she would 
have no hesitation in discarding him, as she had dis- 
carded La Haye, La Rochefoucauld, and Bonnivet. 

Rion appreciated the wisdom of the old courtier's 
counsels, the more readily since those which he had 
already given him had proved so efficacious. He con- 
sulted Madame de Mouchy, who warmly approved this 
daring project. " She knew that she was sure of her 
lover, and that, when he had become the husband of 
the Duchesse de Berry, all the doors which shut out their 
intimacy would be thrown open." 1 

The precious pair worked energetically to reconcile the 
princess to the idea. " Rion," writes Madame, " made 
her believe that he was of the House of Aragon ; that 
the King of Spain was keeping his kingdom from him, and 
that, if they were married, they would be able to reclaim 
it. La Mouchy used to talk to her about this day and 
night." 2 At the same time, Rion, acting always on the 
advice of Lauzun, became more tyrannical and capricious 
than ever. Several times he failed to keep the rendez- 
vous which the princess had given him ; he received 
rudely the envoys whom she despatched to ask for ex- 
planations ; he pretended to have fallen in love with a 
danseuse at the Opera, at that time very much the 
mode ; he compelled the princess to postpone at the 
last moment a ball which she had arranged to give ; 
he criticised her toilette, her jewels, and everything she 
wore, and wished to force her to dress in accordance 
with his own fancy. In a word, he showed himself a 

1 Saint-Simon. 

2 Letter of October 25, 1719. 


veritable despot . These manoeuvres succeeded admirably, 
and the poor Duchesse de Berry, obsessed by the fear of 
losing so dear a lover, felt prepared to make any sacri- 
fice to retain him. But what appears to have been the 
determining factor in assuring the triumph of the con- 
spirators were those qualms of conscience, that " most 
horrible fear of the devil and death," 1 which, from the 
end of the year 1716, drove the erring princess to prayer 
and fasting at the Carmelites. 

Although of the marriage itself there is no shadow of 
doubt — it is admitted alike by the writers of serious 
memoirs and by the authors of chroniques scandaleuses — 
no documentary evidence of it exists. Saint-Simon places 
it immediately after the dangerous illness of which we 
have just spoken, and nearly all contemporaries are of 
this opinion. 2 " The danger being finally over," writes 
Duclos, " the ecclesiastical guard was removed, and 
the princess thought only of recovering her health. 
Notwithstanding her fury against the priests, the fear 
of hell had seized her, the more violently that her health 
was not fully re-established, and that her passion was 
as lively as ever. Rion, aided by the counsels of the Due 
de Lauzun, his uncle, resolved to profit by the disposition 
of his mistress to bring her to a marriage which should 
tranquillize her conscience. The Due de Lauzun, charmed 
to see his nephew playing at the Luxembourg the same 
role that he himself had played with Mile, de Montpensier, 
imagined the plan, the means, the expedients ; and 
Rion acted in conformity. They did not experience great 

1 Saint-Simon. 

a Chroniques indiscrHes sur la Regence. According to the so-called 
Memoires de Maurepas, the Duchesse de Berry and Rion were secretly 
married by the cure of Saint-Sulpice in the chapel at the Luxembourg. 


difficulty with a woman madly in love and terrified of the 
devil at the same time. They received the nuptial bene- 
diction from a priest but little particular and well paid. 

M. de Barthelemy, however, maintains that the marriage 
took place at the end of the year 1716, that is to say, 
only a few months after Rion became the lover of the 
Duchesse de Berry, and more than two years before the 
scandal at the Luxembourg. And here is what he says : 

" In our opinion, it is beyond doubt that the marriage 
existed from the end of the year 1716, for how otherwise 
can we explain those frequent visits to the Carmelites, 
those confessions, those retreats, reported by Madame 
herself ? We have, besides, been fortunate enough to 
discover an incontestable document, which proves the 
exactitude of these facts. Until recently [1874], the 
author of this quasi-conversion had been unknown, and 
a passage from a letter from the Marquis d'Argenson 1 
to the Marquise de la Cour de Balleroy, whose precious 
correspondence is preserved in the Bibliotheque Mazarine, 
tells us that it is Massillon, 2 which explains the excellent 

1 Rene Louis de Voyer de Paulmy. He was Minister for Foreign 
Affairs, November 1744 to January 1747, and author of the celebrated 
memoirs bearing his name. 

2 Jean Baptiste Massillon (1663-1742). He was one of the most 
celebrated of French preachers, and has been called " the Racine of the 
pulpit." The son of a notary, he entered the Congregation of the Oratory 
in 1 68 1, and ten years later drew attention to himself by an eloquent 
funeral oration on Villars, Archbishop of Vienne. Summoned to Paris 
and placed at the head of the seminary of Saint-Magloire, he greatly 
enhanced his reputation by the lectures which he dehvered there. At 
Advent 1699 and Lent 1704 he was selected to preach before the 
Court, and was warmly complimented by Louis XIV., who paid, on the 
former occasion, a striking tribute to Massillon's fearless eloquence. 
" I have heard," said he, " eloquent preachers in my chapel and have 
been satisfied with them ; but, when I have heard you, I feel dissatis- 
fied with myself." Massillon was chosen to preach the funeral oration 
on the Prince de Conti (1709), on the Grand Dauphin (171 1), and on 


relations of this great orator with the Regent. ' People 
speak of a grand conversion at the Luxembourg/ writes 
he on January 9, 1717; ' Pere Massillon has been its 
instrument. In truth, never has priest or monk better 
conducted an affair. He has persuaded her, at the 
end of several retreats which have been made at the 
Carmelites, that she must marry to take away the sin. 
She has espoused Rion. I tell you of it, because I have 
seen the wedding-dress, which is very beautiful.' This 
declaration, formulated by an ocular witness, and, more- 
over, an important person, can leave no doubt, and 
abundantly justifies me." 

Without admitting the learned historian's contention 
that this letter amounts to a positive proof that the 
marriage took place before the end of 1716 — for the 
future Minister for Foreign Affairs was not always very 
careful of the truth, 1 and it should be remembered that 
he was at this time only twenty years of age, and was 
writing to a fair lady, who, like too many women of the 
period, found a correspondence the more attractive the 
more piquant and sensational it happened to be — never- 

Louis XIV. himself. All three, and particularly the last, which opened 
with the words, " Dieu seule est grand, mes freres," are considered 
masterpieces of pulpit oratory. In 171 7, he was appointed Bishop of 
Clermont, though he was not consecrated until two years later, and 
selected to preach the Lenten sermons before the young King, on 
which occasion he composed his celebrated Petit-Careme, a series of 
ten short discourses. In 1719, in which year he was elected a member 
of the French Academy, he withdrew to his diocese, and only twice 
subsequently revisited Paris, namely, to attend the consecration of 
Dubois as cardinal and to preach Madeline's funeral oration (1723). 
At Clermont, his charity and amiable disposition made him generally 

1 In the same letter, the marquis brings an accusation against 
Massillon, the falseness of which is too obvious to require any re- 
futation : *' The director who is, it is said, as interesting in the ruelle 
as in the pulpit, has become the gallant [of the Duchesse de Berry]." 



theless, taken in conjunction with the circumstances to 
which it refers, it certainly seems to us to point very 
strongly to the princess having regularised her relations 
with Rion about this time. 

And, even supposing the marriage did not take place 
at the date he alleges, there is still every reason to believe 
that the child to whom the Duchesse de Berry gave birth 
in the spring of 1719 was born in wedlock. For more than 
two years preceding this event the princess had been, 
as we know, a frequent visitor at the Carmelites of the 
Faubourg Saint- Jacques. She passed nearly all the 
great festivals of the Church among these holy women ; 
she fasted as rigidly as they did ; she rose in the night 
to say her office with them ; scarcely a week went by, 
when she was in Paris, without her visiting the convent ; 
and sometimes she spent several days at a time in retreat 
there. Are we to believe that for more than two years 
she persisted in the most revolting hypocrisy that it is 
possible to imagine ? Are we to believe that for more 
than two years the Carmelites, a community justly famed 
for generations throughout France for their piety, and 
perfectly informed of all that was happening in the world 
outside, would have tolerated in their midst a woman 
who persisted in living in mortal sin ? 

We shall presently see how feverishly anxious was the 
Duchesse de Berry during the last months of her life to 
secure the Regent's consent to her marriage being made 
public. If, then, she were already married at the time of 
her illness, she must certainly have caused her father to 
be informed of the fact when she lay upon what she 
believed to be her death-bed ; and the conversations 
between the latter and Madame de Mouchy through 


the half-open door of the sick-room must have related 
to the princess's desire that the Due d'Orleans should 
then and there announce the marriage, which would have 
saved Rion and the confidante from the disgrace which 
menaced them, put a stop to the slanderous reports which 
were in circulation, and removed all objection on the 
part of the Cardinal de Noailles to the administration of 
the Sacraments. As to the " fury " of which Saint-Simon 
speaks, if the poor woman, in the almost moribund state 
in which she then lay, was capable of flying into a fury, it 
was more likely to have been inspired by the refusal of 
her father to set her right with the Church and the 
world than by the firmness of the ecclesiastics, who were 
only performing their obvious duty. 


The Duchesse de Berry leaves Paris for Meudon — Opposition of the 
Regent to the declaration of her marriage with Rion — He visits 
the princess but twice in three weeks — His conversation with Saint- 
Simon — Rion ordered to join his regiment on the Spanish frontier — 
Painful scenes between father and daughter — A fatal supper-party 
— The Duchesse de Berry falls ill — She removes from Meudon to 
La Muette — Her cruel sufferings — She becomes better, but this 
improvement is speedily followed by a dangerous relapse — Her con- 
dition declared to be hopeless — Rival doctors — Death of the 
Duchesse de Berry — Grief of the Regent, which, however, is of 
short duration — Obsequies of the princess — Her debts — Madame de 
Mouchy and the ring-case — Banishment of this personage — Disgrace 
of Rion — His later years. 

THE Duchesse de Berry had decided that, as soon 
as she was able to be moved, she would go to 
Meudon and remain there until the autumn, by which 
time she hoped that the scandal she had occasioned would 
be to some extent forgotten, or that her father would be 
persuaded to allow her to announce her marriage. The 
doctors did not fail to represent to her the danger she 
would incur in travelling so soon after an illness which 
had all but proved fatal ; but " nothing could make her 
endure Paris any longer," 1 and on April 12 she set out for 
Meudon, followed by Rion, Madame de Mouchy, and 
the majority of her Household. 

Her departure was undoubtedly hastened by the 
behaviour of the Due d'Orleans, who, though he had 
tolerated his daughter's liaison with Rion, was furiously 

1 Saint-Simon. 


indignant on learning that it had been transformed into a 
marriage, and still more exasperated when she demanded 
his consent to the announcement of the misalliance 
which she had contracted. To mark his displeasure, 
he did not visit the Luxembourg for a whole week — that 
is to say, from the 4th, on which day a violent quarrel 
seems to have taken place between him and the princess, 
until the nth— and the abstention of this adoring father, 
who had always been in the habit of spending several 
hours a day with his daughter, naturally aroused much 
comment and greatly aggravated the scandal. 

The removal of the Duchesse de Berry to Meudon, 
in the delicate state of health in which she then was, was 
followed, as we might expect, 1 by a relapse, and on April 18 
Dangeau records that she " does not leave her bed and 
has the double tertian fever." This malady was doubtless 
aggravated by mental agitation, for the Regent gave no 
indication of abandoning his opposition to the announce- 
ment of the marriage, and, not being minded to endure 
any more painful scenes just then, allowed several days to 
pass without coming to see her. On the other hand, Rion, 
who had a shrewd suspicion that the princess's days were 
numbered, pestered her unceasingly to make the de- 
claration which would assure his future ; and, quite apart 
from her desire to satisfy him, she knew that her own 
reputation— or what shreds of it still remained to her— 
imperatively demanded this step. 

1 Madame attributes this relapse to her granddaughter's intemper- 
ance : " The illness of the duchess is the result of having drunk too 
much brandy and eaten enormously. As soon as she feels a trifle better, 
she no longer exercises any moderation in eating and drinking, and 
suffers a relapse." And she adds : " It is a marvel that she is still alive ; 
she is diaphanous, and is breaking up from day to day." Letter of 
April 16, 1 719 (edit. Jaegle). 


On the 19th, the Due d'Orleans at length made his 
appearance at Meudon, where he appears to have experi- 
enced a very unpleasant time, for a week elapsed before 
he could summon up courage to repeat his visit. In the 
meantime, he had decided to consult Saint-Simon, upon 
whose support he knew that he could rely ; and one day, 
when he had gone to visit the Duchesse d'Orleans at the 
Abbey of Montmartre, where she was making one of her 
frequent " retreats," he sent for the duke, and told him 
of the scandalous misalliance which his daughter had 
contracted and of her determination to declare it. 
Saint-Simon tells us that, aware of the strength of the 
duchess's passion, her fear of the devil, and the scandal 
which had just happened, the marriage itself did not 
surprise him, but that he was profoundly astonished that 
a princess so inordinately proud should be so anxious to 
proclaim it. " The Due d'Orleans," he continues, 
" dilated upon his troubles, his anger, that of Madame, 
who wished to proceed to the last extremities, and the 
extreme vexation of the Duchesse d'Orleans. Fortu- 
nately, the majority of the officers destined to serve on 
the frontiers of Spain (War with that country had just 
been declared) were leaving every day, and Rion had 
only remained on account of the illness of the Duchesse de 
Berry. The Due d'Orleans thought that the shortest plan 
would be to encourage hopes by delay, in forcing Rion to 
depart, flattering himself that the declaration would be 
deferred more easily in his absence than in his presence. 
I warmly approved this idea, and on the morrow Rion 
received, at Meudon, a curt and positive order to depart to 
join his regiment in the Army of Berwick." The Duchesse 
de Berry was beside herself with grief and indignation on 


learning of this order, but, " knowing the cause, she felt 
her inability to hinder its execution." Rion, on his side, 
did not dare to disobey, and on April 26 he set out for 
Perpignan, where his regiment was stationed. 

On the same day, we learn from Dangeau, the Due 
d'Orleans, greatly daring, went again to Meudon. The 
writer adds that he " returned very early," and we can 
well believe that he found no inducement to prolong his 
visit. " Father and daughter," says Saint-Simon, 
" feared each other, and the departure of Rion had not 
smoothed over matters between them. She had told him, 
and repeated it, that she was a rich widow, mistress of 
her own actions, independent of him ; had flown into a 
fury and roundly abused the Due d'Orleans, whose 
arguments and opposition she was unable to endure. 
He had experienced these scenes at the Luxembourg, 
when she was convalescent, and he experienced not less 
violent ones at Meudon, during the few visits he paid her 
there. She wished to declare her marriage, and all the 
intelligence, art, gentleness, anger, threats, prayers, and 
entreaties of the duke barely sufficed to make her consent 
to a brief delay." 

These painful scenes were scarcely calculated to re- 
establish the health of a person but lately returned from 
the brink of the grave, and, although on the 29th — on 
which day Madame came to see her granddaughter, 
for the first time since her departure from Paris — Dangeau 
notes that the princess was better, she was still very weak. 
The infrequent visits of her relatives, and particularly 
of the Regent, who, as we have seen, had only been twice 
to Meudon in a fortnight, although it was but six leagues 
from Paris, occasioned her the keenest mortification, the 


more so since their abstention, she knew, was being 
remarked by the public, and must serve to confirm its 
suspicions as to the nature of her recent illness at the 
Luxembourg. It was this which determined her, the 
moment she was able to leave her bed, to give a supper- 
party to her father on the terrace at Meudon. In vain 
the doctors represented to her the criminal imprudence 
of such a proceeding, declaring that, in her state of health, 
she was peculiarly liable to take a chill, which would 
almost certainly prove fatal. " It was for that very 
reason that she persisted in the idea that a supper on 
the terrace, so soon after the extreme danger in which she 
had been, would dissipate all suspicion that she had been 
confined, and induce the belief that she was on the same 
terms as ever with the Due d' Orleans, notwithstanding the 
unusual rarity of his visits." 1 

On May i the fete took place, but it did not have the 
effect on public opinion which the princess desired ; 
while the consequences of her exposure to the night air 
was an intermittent fever, which the continued opposition 
of the Regent to the declaration of her marriage, the 
separation from her beloved Rion, and the pointed 
manner in which her family avoided her did not tend to 
diminish. She grew disgusted with Meudon, " like people 
ill in body and mind who, in their chagrin, attribute every- 
thing to the air and the place," 2 and, despite the remon- 
strances of the doctors, decided to remove to La Muette. 
La Muette, being much nearer Paris, she hoped that the 
Due and Duchesse d'Orleans would visit her more fre- 
quently, if only for form's sake. " The Duchesse de Berry," 
writes Dangeau, on May 10, " intends to come to-day to 

1 Saint-Simon. 2 Ibid. 


La Muette, the air of which she believes to be better for 
her than Meudon." However, the princess was too un- 
well to leave Meudon until the 14th, when she was con- 
veyed to La Muette " in a large coach, between two sheets. ' ' 1 
Short as the journey was, it, nevertheless, caused her 
cruel suffering, for her other ailments were now com- 
plicated by a severe attack of gout. She determined to 
try the waters of Passy, and, though they appear to have 
afforded her some temporary alleviation, since on the 
16th, when she received a visit from her father, Dangeau 
describes her as " much relieved," this was speedily 
followed by another relapse, of so serious a nature that 
both Madame and the Duchesse d'Orleans, notwithstand- 
ing their indignation against her, felt obliged to hasten to 
La Muette. The elder princess, who beneath a rough 
exterior concealed a kind heart, was touched by the 
sufferings of her granddaughter. " I went to see Madame 
de Berry on Sunday last [May 21]," she writes. ' I 
found her in a sad state ; she had such frightful pains in 
the soles and toes of both feet that the tears came into my 
eyes. I saw that my presence prevented her from crying 
out, and thereupon I took my departure. I thought she 
looked very bad. They caused three doctors to hold a 
consultation, who determined to bleed her in the foot. 
They had great difficulty in deciding her to submit, for the 
pain in her feet was so intolerable that she uttered loud 
cries when the sheets of the bed merely touched them. 
The bleeding was successful, and she has suffered less 
since. 2 It was the gout in both feet." 3 

1 Dangeau. 

2 " The pains of the Duchesse de Berry were greatly intensified 
for two hours after she was bled, but they diminished afterwards, 
and she slept for eight consecutive hours " {Journal de Dangeau, 
May 2i, 1719). 3 Correspondance complete, Letter of May 23, 1719- 


These agonizing pains in the feet returned at the end 
of the month and continued at intervals until the middle 
of June, 1 when they greatly diminished, though the 
princess was still unable to walk. " The Duchesse de 
Berry is much better, according to what they say," writes 
Dangeau on June 19, " and the doctors declare that there 
is no danger." 

Such was certainly the opinion of the patient herself, 
and on the 24th she celebrated her supposed convalescence 
by giving a grand concert at the La Muette, at which she 
announced her intention of returning to the Luxembourg. 
On the 30th, we learn from Dangeau that she " had 
borrowed the King's litter to take the air in the Bois de 
Boulogne, but, finding herself too feeble for that, had 
postponed this promenade until Sunday (July 1)." He 
adds that she still reckons on returning to Paris at an 
early date, and is having the Luxembourg refurnished. 

But the Duchesse de Berry was never to see the Lux- 
embourg or Paris again. During the early days of July 
she continued to improve in health ; the gout in her feet 
ceased to trouble her, and she was even able to walk a 
short distance. But on the 14th she was suddenly taken 
dangerously ill, and it was soon recognised that her 
chances of surmounting this new crisis were very slight. 
" The Due d'Orleans returned this evening from Saint- 
Cloud," writes Dangeau. " He had stopped at La Muette, 
where he found the Duchesse de Berry worse than she 
has yet been ; she has a rather violent fever, and he did 
not wish to leave La Muette until she had been bled. 
Her pain and her weakness are increasing." And on the 

1 Writing on June i, Buvat assures us that the poor woman uttered 
such agonizing cries they could be heard at a distance. 


morrow : " The Due d'Orleans was awakened early in the 
morning and informed that the Duchesse de Berry had 
passed a very bad night. The doctors consider her in very 
great danger. The Duchesse d'Orleans remained with her 
until midnight. They intend to give Madame de Berry 
an emetic to-morrow. It is a remedy which appears 
very dangerous in the state in which she is, but they 
believe there is nothing else which can afford her relief." 

On the morning of the 16th, the Franciscan confessor 
of the Duchesse de Berry was summoned to La Muette, 
and ordered not to quit the chateau. The duchess, 
however, did not appear to consider that she was in any 
real danger, for she refused to submit to the treatment 
which the doctors prescribed or to make her peace with 
Heaven, and " relations and doctors were at length 
obliged to speak a language to her not used towards 
princesses, save in the most urgent extremity." 1 This 
had its effect, and she consented to take the only remedy 
which it was believed could save her, and to receive the 
Sacrament later in the day. 

The emetic greatly relieved the patient, and it is quite 
probable that her life might have been prolonged for 
some time, had she not, with a folly which seems almost 
inconceivable, taken advantage of this respite to consume 
a quantity of fruit and iced beer and wine, with the result 
that might be expected. 2 In the interval, she had confessed 

1 Saint-Simon. 

2 Buvat, Journal de la Rigence. Madame also speaks of this fatal 
gluttony, but, according to her, the unfortunate princess had been 
indulging in similar clandestine repasts for the last fortnight. " The 
poor Duchesse de Berry," she writes, on the morrow of her grand- 
daughter's death, " took her own life as effectually as if she had blown 
out her brains with a pistol, for she consumed in secret melon, figs, 
and milk. She confessed to me herself, and her doctor told me, that 


and subsequently received the Sacrament publicly, 
" speaking," says Saint-Simon, " to those present con- 
cerning her life and her state, but like a queen in both 
instances. After this spectacle was over," he continues, 
" and she was alone with her intimates, she applauded 
herself for the firmness she had displayed, and asked them 
if she had not spoken well, and if she were not dying with 
firmness and courage." 

The next day, the princess's case appeared desperate. 
" There is no longer any hope of curing her," writes 
Dangeau. " The Due d'Orleans went [to La Muette] in 
the morning, and the Duchesse d'Orleans goes frequently, 
and is always with her. On the 18th, there being no 
improvement in her condition, she received the Viaticum 
and Extreme Unction from the hands of the Abbe de 
Castries, Archbishop-elect of Tours, her first almoner. The 
Regent and the Due de Chartres preceded the Holy 
Sacrament on its way from the church of Passy to La 
Muette, and also on its return. Saint-Simon observes 
that " she received it, as it appeared, with much piety, 

she had closed her door against him, as well as against the other doctors, 
for a fortnight, to accomplish this fine work." 

In another letter, written three weeks later, the old princess accuses 
Madame de Mouchy of having abetted the Duchesse de Berry in this ; 
and there can be no doubt that this unscrupulous woman, knowing 
that her mistress was doomed, was ready to satisfy all her caprices, 
in order to ingratiate herself with her and extract from her, as we shall 
presently see, all that she could : "As for the death of the poor 
Duchesse de Berry, I know well who ought to be blamed for this mis- 
fortune. It is the favourite of the poor duchess, the accursed Mouchy, 
who is the cause of her death. She killed her as effectually as though 
she had driven a knife into her throat. The duchess was consumed 
by a slow fever ; her favourite brought her, in the night, all kinds of 
things to eat : fricassees, little pates, melons, salad, milk, prunes, figs ; 
she gave her iced beer to drink. For a fortnight she was unwilling to 
call in any doctor, and the fever kept on increasing all the time." 
Correspondence complete, Letter of August 10, 1719. 


quite differently from the first time." 1 Afterwards, she 
sank into a sort of coma, from which she recovered only 
at long intervals. 

On the 19th, as a last hope, the Regent, on the advice of 
some of his friends, decided to call in a quack doctor of the 
name of Garus, who had invented an elixir much talked 
of just then, and the secret of which Louis XV. afterwards 
purchased. Garus lost no time in obeying the summons, 
but found the princess so ill that he expressed the opinion 
that matters had gone too far for even his wonderful 
remedy to save her. However, he consented to administer 
it, stipulating, however, that nothing was to be given 
the patient except by his advice. 

Dangeau says that this elixir " revived the Duchesse de 
Berry a little, which inspired some fresh hope." But 
Saint-Simon assures us that it " succeeded beyond all 
hope " and that " nothing remained but to continue it " ; 
and accuses Chirac, the first physician of the Due d'Orleans, 
of having caused the death of the princess rather than 
leave to Garus the honour of curing her. Here is what 
he says : 

" The Duchesse de Berry continued to improve and 
became so much better that Chirac, her regular doctor, 
began to fear for his reputation, and, seizing his oppor- 
tunity, when Garus was asleep upon a sofa, hurriedly 
presented a purgative to the duchess and made her 
swallow it, without saying a word to any one, the two 
nurses chosen to wait upon her, and who were the only 
persons present, not daring to oppose him. The audacity 
of this was as complete as its villainy, for the Due and 

1 " She received the last Sacraments with such firmness," writes 
Madame, " that every one's heart was rent" (Letter of July 19, 1719)- 


Duchesse d'Orleans were close at hand in the salon. 
From this moment to the one in which the patient re- 
lapsed into a condition similar to that from which the elixir 
had rescued her, there was but the briefest interval. Garus 
was awakened and summoned. Seeing this disorder, 
he cried out that a purgative had been administered, 
which, whatever it might be, was poison in the state in 
which the princess was. He wished to depart ; he was 
detained and conducted to the Duchesse d'Orleans. A 
great uproar ensued ; cries from Garus, impudence and 
unequalled audacity from Chirac, in defending what he 
had done. He was unable to deny it, for the two nurses 
had been questioned and had admitted it. The Duchesse 
de Berry drew near her end while this debate was going 
on, and neither Garus nor Chirac could do anything to 
prevent it. She lasted, however, the rest of the day, and 
did not expire until about midnight. Chirac, seeing the 
death-agony approaching, traversed the room, made an 
insulting reverence at the foot of the bed, which was open, 
wished her ' a pleasant journey ' (in equivalent terms), 
and went off to Paris. The marvel is that nothing came 
of this and that he remained the doctor of the Due 

It is only fair to Chirac to observe that this charge is 
unsupported by any testimony whatever, and, since the 
accused physician enjoyed great influence at the Palais- 
Royal and might very well have offended Saint-Simon, 
it is probably merely a fresh instance of the outrageous 
manner in which that vindictive chronicler was in the 
habit of calumniating those against whom he happened to 
cherish a grievance. 

However that may be, the improvement in the con- 


dition of the patient which Garus's elixir had effected 
was not maintained. " The Duchesse de Berry," writes 
Dangeau, under date July 20, " was in a very weak 
state this morning, and in the evening it was thought 
that she would not survive the night." In point of fact, 
the unfortunate princess expired in the early hours of the 
morning of the 21st. She had completed her twenty- 
fourth year only a month previously. " The poor Duch- 
esse de Berry died to-night between two and three 
o'clock," writes Madame. " Her end was very peaceful ; 
they say that she died as though she had fallen asleep." 

None of her relatives was with her in her last moments, 
the Due and Duchesse d'Orleans having quitted La 
Muette about an hour previously. The Regent, however, 
had wished to remain until the end, and Saint-Simon 
tells us that it was he who dissuaded him, though not 
without great difficulty. At this supreme moment, 
indeed, the kind-hearted prince had forgotten all the 
trouble which his daughter had caused him during the last 
few months, and remembered only the devoted affection 
which he had cherished for her since her infancy. Saint- 
Simon describes him as " plunged in the most bitter 
grief," and says that he wept so copiously that " he 
feared that he would suffocate." It was the same on the 
morrow at the Palais-Royal, where Madame " found her 
poor son in a state which would have softened a rock," 1 

1 Saint-Simon asserts that Madame was little affected by her 
granddaughter's death ; but the contrary would appear to have been 
the case : " She [the Duchesse de Berry] said," writes the old princess, 
" that she was dying without regret, since she was reconciled with God, 
and that, if her hfe were to be prolonged, she might offend Him anew. 
That touched us so much that I should not be able to express it. 
At bottom, she was a good woman, and, if her mother had taken more 
care of her, and had brought her up better, there would have been 
nothing but good to say of her. / confess that her death goes to my 



and where the Duchesse d'Orleans, according to Buvat, 
thought it necessary to enter his bedroom, accompanied 
by the Due de Chartres and his sisters, and " to entreat 
him earnestly to console himself as best he could for this 
loss, representing to him that the prince and princesses, 
his children, stood in need of the preservation of his 
health and his protection." 1 However, if we are to 
believe Saint-Simon, the reflection that the yoke to 
which he had submitted, and had of late found so heavy, 
was severed, and that he was now free from all annoyance 
on the score of the marriage with Rion, soon brought him 
consolation. As for the Duchesse d'Orleans, we can well 
believe the chronicler's assertion that she regarded her 
daughter's death as a deliverance. 

The death of the Duchesse de Berry aroused com- 
paratively little interest among the public, greatly to the 
relief of the inmates of the Palais-Royal, who had feared a 
posthumous scandal to crown those which the deceased 
princess had caused during her life. Several couplets, 
however, of a more or less obscene character, were 
circulated in Paris. One of these compositions purported 
to relate the life of the princess, and the opening 
verses — the only ones which can possibly be transcribed 
— ran thus : 

" Celle de qui j'e"cris l'histoire 
Est la Messaline du temps ; 
J'en veux e"terniser la gloire 
Par des hommages eclatants." 

The autopsy which was performed on the Duchesse de 
Berry on the day after her death proved that no amount 
of medical skill would have sufficed to save her. " Her 
head was all full of water," writes Madame ; " she had 

1 Journal de la Rdgence. 


an ulcer in the stomach, another in the hip ; the rest 
was like pap, and her liver was affected." Saint-Simon, 
who had been commissioned by the Regent to attend this 
operation, adds that she was " found to be again en- 
ceinte," so that her death saved the Regent from having 
to decide between acknowledging Rion as a son-in- 
law and a repetition of the scandal of the preceding 

Saint-Simon had also been charged with the funeral 
arrangements, and he took care that they should be as 
simple as the rank of the departed would permit. On 
the 22nd, the princess's heart was taken to the Val-de- 
Grace by her first almoner, the Abbe de Castries, and 
Mile, de la Roche-sur-Yon, who were accompanied by 
Madame de Saint-Simon and two of the " dames." On 
the morrow, at ten o'clock at night, the body, which had 
been placed, after the autopsy, on a catafalque in the 
chapel of La Muette, where masses had been said without 
interruption, was conveyed in an eight-horse coach to 
Saint-Denis, escorted by forty pages and guards bearing 
torches, and followed by two carriages, one containing 
the almoners, the other the ladies of the princess. The 
funeral service was celebrated, according to usage, at the 
beginning of September ; but it was marked by an entire 
absence of the customary pomp, and there was no funeral 
oration, a most extraordinary omission at the obsequies 
of a member of the Royal House. The reason, however, 
is sufficiently obvious. " They have been so embarrassed 
about making her funeral oration," writes Madame, 
" that they decided that it was best not to make one 
at all." 1 

1 Letter of August i, 1719. 


Although, as we have mentioned elsewhere, the de- 
ceased princess had enjoyed an immense income, she 
was found to have left behind debts amounting to over 
400,000 livres, which the Regent was called upon to 
discharge, as her husband's appanage and the pension 
which Louis XIV. had accorded her had reverted to 
the State. It is, however, scarcely surprising that 
her revenues, great as they were, should have been in- 
sufficient to meet her expenditure, since she had had 
two costly residences in the Luxembourg and La Muette 
and, latterly, a third, Meudon, to keep up ; 1 never denied 
herself anything which happened to take her fancy ; 
appears to have kept no accounts, and had been merci- 
lessly exploited by her greedy and unscrupulous favour- 

The untimely death of the Duchesse de Berry caused 
the greatest consternation among the officers of her 
Household. The majority of them had, according to the 
custom of the time, purchased their charges, generally 
for considerable sums, since they had naturally looked 
forward to enjoying the emoluments for many years, or 
of being able to sell them whenever they felt so inclined. 
Many had invested the whole of their savings in acquiring 
these offices, and now found themselves faced by ruin 
and destitution. The Regent, however, came to the 
rescue. He continued the salaries of the higher officials, 
with one notable exception, of which we shall presently 
speak, and accorded the others pensions for life, to reim- 
burse them for the loss of their charges ; and on August 27 
Madame writes : " All the people who were in the service 

1 Buvat says that she had at the moment of her death, at these 
different establishments, no less than eight hundred servants. 


of the Duchesse de Berry appear entirely consoled for her 
death." And she adds : " I, too, am consoled, on account 
of many things which I have learned since her death, but 
which cannot be committed to paper." 

Buvat tells us that, to pay these salaries and pensions 
and to discharge the princess's debts, " the Regent judged 
proper to establish a levy of four sols per livre on the 
tailles of the generality of Paris." There can be little 
doubt, however, that Buvat was misinformed, and that 
the levy had been made for an entirely different purpose, 
for, great as were the faults of Philippe d'Orleans, he was 
scrupulously honourable in financial matters, and noth- 
ing is more unlikely than that he would have thrown the 
burden of his daughter's extravagance upon the shoulders 
of the subjects of the King of France. Moreover, there 
would have been no excuse for so disgraceful an abuse 
of his authority, since we learn, from the official report 
of the affixing of the seals at La Muette and Meudon, 
published by the same chronicler, that the Duchesse de 
Berry had left behind her " a casket filled with jewels 
of all kinds in shagreen boxes of various sizes . . . three 
other shagreen boxes, which the said casket was unable to 
contain, in which were jewels of various kinds ; a card- 
board box containing several precious stones and a 
great oblong diamond ; a chest filled with candlesticks 
and other pieces of silver and silver-gilt " ; and so forth. 
The sale of these objects, some of which must have been 
of great value, would certainly have gone far to furnish 
the Regent with the amount required. 

The same report mentions that Madame Margrais, one 
of the late princess's waiting-women, had made a de- 
claration, in which she stated that " three ring-cases, 


two of shagreen and one of a Chinese wood," were missing 
at La Muette. What became of two of these cases 
is unknown, but the third happened to be safe in the 
Regent's bureau, and how it came there deserves to be 

On the evening of April 16, a little while after she had 
made her confession and received the Sacrament, the 
Duchesse de Berry dismissed every one from her room, 
with the exception of Madame de Mouchy, and then, 
pointing to the key of her jewel-casket, told her confidante 
to bring her ring-case, containing a collection of rings 
which Saint-Simon estimates to have been worth more 
than 200,000 ecus. This ring-case, according to Madame 
de Mouchy's account, she presented to her, in recognition 
of her faithful services; but it seems far more probable 
that the princess limited her generosity to one or two 
of these costly trinkets, and that the favourite, whose 
avarice had been excited by the sight of such a fortune, 
coolly appropriated the whole collection. 

Such a proceeding would have been quite in keeping 
with her odious character, and Madame assures us that 
she had been robbing the Duchesse de Berry systemati- 
cally for some time, with the aid of duplicate keys, and 
had " made fine coups." M. de Barthelemy even thinks 
that the whole story was a fabrication, and that Madame 
de Mouchy, seeing that her mistress had only a few 
days to live, crowned her numerous peculations by a 
monstrous robbery ; but it seems very natural that, after 
the criminal complaisance she had displayed during the 
princess's illness, she should have received some rich 

However that may be, on the evening in question 


Madame de Mouchy found herself in possession of the 
ring- case, which she showed to her husband. That 
gentleman, who, though as avaricious as his wife, was 
more timid, expressed his fear that, when the princess 
was dead, and her ring- case was found to be miss- 
ing, they might be accused of theft, if they said 
nothing about it before. Madame admitted the force of 
what he said, and accordingly informed, in confidence, 
one or two of the few friends she possessed in the 
Duchesse de Berry's Household, where both she and 
her husband were generally hated and despised, of 
the magnificent present of which she had just been 
the recipient. 

These friends, of course, promised the strictest secrecy, 
and equally, of course, proceeded to communicate the 
news to the first person they happened to meet, with the 
result that it speedily reached the ears of Madame de 
Saint-Simon. That lady, who knew the immense value 
of the contents of her mistress's ring-case, was so as- 
tonished that she deemed it her duty to inform the 
Due d'Orleans without a moment's delay. The Regent 
had left La Muette an hour or two before, but she wrote a 
letter and despatched it to the Palais-Royal by a trusty 

Meanwhile, Madame de Mouchy, learning that the 
affair had become public property, had decided to take 
counsel of Madame de Saint-Simon. She found the 
dame d'honneur in the salon, which, though it was now 
very late, was still full of people, since the Duchesse de 
Berry was so much worse — thanks to the clandestine 
repast of which we have spoken elsewhere — that no one 
thought of going to bed. Approaching Madame de 


Saint-Simon, with an air of well-simulated embarrass- 
ment, she related what had occurred, and then, drawing 
the ring-case from her pocket, showed it to her. The 
duchess, after duly admiring it, called the ladies who were 
nearest her to come and admire it also, and in their 
presence — for she had called them with this intention — 
told Madame de Mouchy that it was indeed a superb 
present, but that, for that very reason, she advised her 
to go and inform the Regent of her good fortune as soon 
as possible. This counsel, given in the presence of 
witnesses, greatly embarrassed Madame de Mouchy, but, 
coming as it did from the head of the Duchesse de Berry's 
Household, it was equivalent to an order; and she accord- 
ingly replied that she would act as Madame de Saint- 
Simon suggested, and left the room to find her husband 
and acquaint him with the very unwelcome turn the affair 
had taken. But let us allow Saint-Simon to relate the 
denouement in his own words : 

" The next morning, they appeared together at the 
Palais-Royal, and demanded to speak to the Due d'Or- 
leans, who, having been warned by Madame de Saint- 
Simon, ordered them to be admitted immediately, and 
requested the few people who happened to be in his 
cabinet to withdraw, for it was very early in the forenoon. 
Madame de Mouchy, her husband by her side, compli- 
mented the Regent as well as she could. The Due 
d'Orleans, for all response, inquired where the ring-case 
was. She drew it from her pocket and handed it to him. 
The Due d'Orleans took it, opened it, examined it carefully 
to see if there was anything missing, for he knew perfectly 
what it contained, shut it again, drew a key from his 
pocket, locked it up in a drawer of his bureau, and then 


dismissed them by an inclination of the head. They 
bowed and withdrew, equally infuriated and ashamed. 
From that time they did not reappear at La Muette. 
Soon afterwards, the Due d'Orleans arrived there, and, 
after visiting his daughter for a moment, drew Madame 
de Saint-Simon aside, thanked her warmly for what she 
had written to him and what she had done, and informed 
her of how he had just acted, and that the ring-case 
would not again leave his hands. So angry was he at this 
effrontery that he was unable to refrain from speaking of 
it in the salon, in terms very damaging to M. and Madame 
de Mouchy, amid great applause from all the company, 
even from the servants." 

Saint-Simon's assertion that Madame de Mouchy did 
not return to La Muette after her interview with the 
Regent at the Palais- Royal would appear to be incorrect, 
since Dangeau, whose accuracy is beyond dispute, writes 
under date April 20 : " Madame de Mouchy left La 
Muette before midnight, seeing Madame de Berry's 
condition to be hopeless ; all the people of the Household 
appeared very animated against her." Her return would 
certainly have been necessary, if only to secure the 
fruits of her peculations. 

Not only did this detestable harpy feel no regret at the 
untimely death of the princess whom she had so shame- 
lessly exploited, but she did not even attempt to simulate 
it. " The Mouchy, who used to control everything," 
writes Madame, " was not afflicted for a single moment. 
She played the flute at her window, and the day when this 
poor princess was conveyed to Saint-Denis she went to 
dine in Paris with a numerous company. She drank 
champagne and ate as gluttonously as though nothing 


was happening, and indulged in impertinent talk, which 
shocked every one present." 1 

Having been alone excepted from the ladies of the 
Duchesse de Berry's Household who had preserved their 
salaries, she had the audacity to demand an audience of 
the Regent, to inquire the reason. He declined to receive 
her, but referred her to the Due de la Vrilliere, one of the 
Secretaries of State. To La Vrilliere she accordingly 
went, accompanied by her husband, and was promptly 
handed a lettre de cachet ordering them both to leave Paris 
within forty-eight hours and not to return. They were, 
as a matter of fact, permitted to return some years later ; 
" but," says Saint-Simon, " none of the events which had 
happened in the interval sufficed to re-establish their 
position in the world, or to extricate them from con- 
tempt, obscurity, and oblivion." 

As for Rion, he experienced a rude awakening from his 
dreams of greatness. As soon as the news of the Duchesse 
de Berry's death reached the Army of Berwick, the 
Prince de Conti, who had always detested his cousin, 
hurried off to find the widower, and, when he caught sight 
of him, began to sing a coarse song, beginning : 

" Elle est morte, la vache aux paniers, 
II n'en faut plus parler.'' 2 

Others were not slow to follow the example of a Prince 
of the Blood, and altogether the young gentleman appears 
to have passed a very unpleasant time. Saint-Simon 
assures us that his despair at the ruin of his hopes was 
such that his friends had to keep watch over him to 

1 Correspondance compute, Letter of August i, 17 19. 
1 Ibid., Letter of September 28, 1719. 


prevent him from destroying himself ; but probably he 
exaggerates, since Rion had feathered his nest warmly 
enough to make life well worth living. It was not, how- 
ever, nearly so warmly feathered as he imagined, for 
which he had to thank his light-fingered friend Madame de 
Mouchy. "The Mouchy," writes Madame, "was cer- 
tainly the most unworthy favourite that was ever seen ; 
she betrayed, deceived, and robbed her princess. What 
she did that was amusing, was to rob her lover, the Comte 
de Rion, to whom the Duchesse de Berry had given large 
sums in cash and jewellery. He had placed it all in a 
casket which he had left at Meudon. His chere amie 
stole the casket and went off with it. I consider that 
very comical." 1 

At the close of the campaign, Rion sold the colonelcy of 
his regiment and his government of Cognac, and retired 
into private life. As his reappearance on the scene of his 
amorous successes so soon after what had passed would 
have been very embarrassing for the Palais-Royal, he 
was not allowed to return to Paris with the other officers; 
but this prohibition was withdrawn some months later. 
" M. de Rion, who has not had permission to return since 
the campaign which he made in Spain," writes Dangeau, 
on April 24, 1720, " obtained it a few days ago, and has 
arrived here. It is said that he is married." 

This report was incorrect, and, though Rion appears to 
have had more than one opportunity of making an advan- 
tageous marriage, he preferred to remain a widower. But, 
as Madame tells us that " all the women ran after him," 
he no doubt found an abundance of consolation. Satisfied 
with having assured himself a place in history, " he led a 

1 Correspondance compute, Letter of September 12, 1719. 


life in conformity with his tastes, that is to say of pleasure, 
but privately. He remained obscure, and this obscurity 
absorbed him." 1 

He died about the age of forty, much regretted by 
the many friends whom his good-nature and pleasant 
manners had gained him. 

1 Saint-Simon. 


Charlotte Aglae d'Orleans, Mile, de Valois, makes her appearance in 
Society — She refuses to marry the Prince de Dombes — The young 
princess is sent to her grandmother at Saint-Cloud— Madame' s 
portrait of her— The Due de Richelieu— His extraordinary fascina- 
tion for women— His liaison with Mile, de Charolais— Refusal of 
the Condes to countenance their marriage— Violent passion of Mile, 
de Valois for the duke— Open rivalry between her and Mile, de 
Charolais— Indignation of the Regent— Richelieu conspires with 
Spain— He f alls into a trap prepared for him by the French Govern- 
ment — Warning which he receives from Mile, de Valois — He is 
arrested and conducted to the Bastille— Despair of the two prin- 
cesses, who make common cause to secure the liberation of 
their idol— Their visit to the Bastille— Exasperation of Madame 
against her granddaughter— Matrimonial projects in regard to 
Mile, de Valois — A mariage manque— Francesco d'Este, Prince of 
Modena, proposed as a husband— The Regent accords his daughter 
the liberty of Richelieu, in consideration of her consenting to marry 
this prince — Amorous escapades of the released gallant — Aversion 
of Mile, de Valois to the alliance arranged for her— Her marriage- 
She falls ill of measles, which she has purposely contracted, but 
recovers — Her despair. 

THE affairs of the unfortunate Duchesse de Berry 
and the ambitions of Mile. d'Orleans were not the 
only family matters to engage the attention of the Regent 
during the year 1719. His third daughter, Mile, de 
Valois, inspired apparently by the example of her eldest 
sister, had lately contrived to achieve a most undesirable 
prominence, and bade fair to cause her relatives as much 
trouble and anxiety as the departed princess. 

It will be remembered that this young lady, now in her 
nineteenth year, had, in the summer of 1714, been with- 
drawn from the Abbey of Chelles, where, to her profound 



disgust, she had been placed en pension with Mile. 
d'Orleans. Her return to the world gave rise to a rumour 
that she was about to be married. This, however, was 
incorrect, although twelve months before a scheme had 
been set on foot by the Duchesse de Berry to marry her 
to the Prince de Conti, which had been promptly nipped 
in the bud by Louis XIV., who had compelled Conti to 
espouse Mile, de Bourbon, sister of Monsieur le Due, 
while, on the same day (July 8, 1713), the latter prince 
took to wife, likewise by his Majesty's command, Marie 
Anne de Bourbon-Conti. 

For some months after leaving Chelles, Mile, de Valois 
was lodged at the Val-de-Grace, though she spent the 
greater part of the day with her relatives, returning to the 
convent in the evening. But the beginning of the year 
1715 found her definitely installed at the Palais-Royal, 
and on January 15 she appeared in the Regent's box at 
the Opera, where a ball was in progress. On March 3 she 
again assisted at an Opera-ball — it must be admitted that 
Philippe d'Orleans had singular ideas as to the manner in 
which a young girl of fourteen should be brought up — 
and, a little later, attended a hunting-party at Marly, 
under the escort of Madame, who would seem to have 
been very disappointed that her granddaughter had not 
fulfilled her expectations on the score of beauty. " When 
she was very young," she writes in June 1715, " I hoped 
that Mile, de Valois would be pretty, but I have been 
very much deceived. She has acquired a great aquiline 
nose, which has spoiled her. She had formerly the 
prettiest nose imaginable. The cause of this misfortune 
is that she has been allowed to take snuff." 

During the next two years we hear nothing of Mile. 


de Valois, apart from an occasional announcement by 
Dangeau that she had accompanied her father to the 
Opera or her mother to the " Comedie." Beyond escort- 
ing her on these occasions, the Due and Duchesse d'Or- 
leans appear to have troubled themselves very little about 
their daughter, and to have made not the slightest attempt 
to shield her from the dangers to which young girls were 
exposed in an age in which virtue had gone altogether 
out of fashion and modesty was barely tolerated. When, 
however, Mile. d'Orleans had refused to sacrifice her 
vocation on the altar of political expediency by marrying 
the Prince de Dombes, the Duchesse d'Orleans began to 
pay far more attention to the young princess, and over- 
whelmed her with cleverly-simulated demonstrations of 
affection, hoping by this means to persuade her to accept 
the position which her elder sister had refused. But, to 
her profound mortification, Mile, de Valois offered an 
equally stubborn resistance, and, though the duchess 
brought all her batteries into play, and bombarded her 
with arguments, tears, reproaches, and threats, she stood 
her ground resolutely. Nothing, she declared, would 
induce her to wed her cousin. 

Unable to triumph over her daughter's resistance, the 
Duchesse d'Orleans conceived for her the most intense 
dislike ; declared that she could not endure the sight 
of her, and rendered the unfortunate girl's life at the 
Palais-Royal perfectly miserable, by her incessant re- 
proaches. " Mile, de Valois," writes Madame, under date 
September 6, 1716, " is not on good terms with her 
mother, who wished to persuade her to marry the Prince 
de Dombes, eldest son of the Due du Maine. The mother 
is perpetually reproaching her daughter with the fact that, 


if she had married her nephew, the misfortune which had 
overtaken her brother and his son would not have 
happened. She cannot endure the sight of her daughter, 
and has begged me to keep her some time with me." 1 
Mile, de Valois, in consequence, was installed at Saint- 
Cloud, where she was almost immediately asked in 
marriage by Monsieur le Due, on behalf of his brother, the 
Comte de Charolais, that half-crazy prince about whose 
ferocious depravity so many anecdotes are related. Mile. 
de Valois would appear to have regarded the prospect 
not unfavourably, but her parents were of a different 
opinion, and declined to give their consent. No doubt, 
the mere fact that her daughter was well disposed to- 
wards her suitor was in itself sufficient to determine the 
Duchesse d'Orleans to oppose the match. 

At Saint-Cloud Madame had abundant opportunities 
of studying her granddaughter, and the judgment she 
formed of both the appearance and character of that 
young lady was anything but favourable. 

" Mile, de Valois," she writes, " is a brunette ; she has 
very beautiful eyes, but her nose is villainous and too big. 
In my opinion, she is not beautiful. There are, however, 
days when she is not ugly, for she has a fine complexion 
and a beautiful skin. When she laughs, a long tooth in 
her upper jaw produces a vile effect. Her figure is short 
and ugly ; her head sunk in her shoulders ; and what is 
worse, in my judgment, is the lack of grace that she shows 
in everything that she does. ... If she were one of those 
persons who have no desire to please, I should not be 
surprised at her neglecting herself to this degree. But 

1 The misfortune was the decree of August 26, 1718, of which we 
have spoken elsewhere. See page 163 supra. 

Charlotte Aglae d'Orleans (Mlle. de Valois), Hereditary 
Princess, and afterwards Duchess, of Modena 

From the painting by Pierre Gohert, at Versailles 
(Photo by W. A. Mansell & Co.) 


she loves to be thought pretty ; she has some taste for 
the toilette, and she cannot understand that the best 
toilette is graceful and distinguished manners, and that, 
when those are wanting, nothing can supply their place. 
... I have by no means a good opinion of her, and I do 
not pray for her preservation. She has no good instincts ; 
she cares nothing at all about her mother, and very little 
for her father ; she detests me more than the devil ; 
she is deceitful, 1 untruthful, and horribly coquettish ; in 
short, she will give us all cause for mortification. I wish 
that she were already married and far away from here ; 
and I should like her to be married to a foreign prince, 
so that one might hear no more about her." 

Notwithstanding the very unflattering portrait which 
Madame traces of her granddaughter, Mile, de Valois, at 
this time, appears to have been regarded by her contem- 
poraries as a very agreeable young lady. Without being 
beautiful or even pretty, she pleased and attracted, since 
her fine eyes and her dazzling complexion went far to 
redeem the defects of which her grandmother speaks ; 
while, if her manner towards her relatives was not dis- 
tinguished by an excessive amiability, she was affable 
and good-humoured enough towards the rest of the 
world. Moreover, though of an excessively indolent 
disposition, she possessed considerable intelligence, which, 
had she chosen to exercise it, might have resulted in her 
becoming quite an accomplished princess. What, how- 
ever, the writer says about her graver moral failings is 
unhappily only too true, though perhaps coquetry is 

1 Writing in May 1717, Madame had said: " Madame d'Orleans 
would be the most deceitful person in the world, if it were not for her 
daughter, Mile, de Valois. She is even worse. I think it is horrible to 
find such deceitfulness in a person so young." 


hardly the term to apply to her part in the romance 
which we are about to relate. 

The little sympathy which Madame felt for her grand- 
daughter did not prevent her from doing what she con- 
ceived to be her duty by the girl, and during the winter 
of 1718-19 she frequently escorted her to the Opera, 
the Comedie-Francaise, and to various social functions, 
while she also entertained a good deal at Saint-Cloud for 
her benefit. It was now that Mile, de Valois seems first to 
have made the acquaintance of the too-celebrated Due de 
Richelieu, for whom she speedily conceived a passion 
of the most ardent kind. 

Born in 1796, Richelieu was at this time in his twenty- 
fourth year and already in a fair way to become the 
most scandalous Lovelace of a scandalous age. " If I 
believed in sorcery," writes Madame, " I should say that 
this duke must possess some supernatural secret, for he 
has never found a woman who has opposed to him the 
least resistance ; all run after him ; it is truly shameful. 
He is not, after all, more handsome than other men, 
and he is so indiscreet and fond of babbling that he has 
himself declared that if an empress, beautiful as an angel, 
were enamoured of him and wished to pass the night with 
him, on condition that he should say nothing about it, 
he should prefer to forsake her and never see her again 
so long as he lived. He is a great poltroon, 1 without heart 
and without soul ; it revolts me to think that he is the 
pet of all the ladies." 2 

1 This, of course, is quite untrue ; Richelieu was one of the most 
redoubtable duellists of his time and one of the bravest soldiers who 
ever girded on a sword ; indeed, his reputation for courage was second 
only to his reputation for gallantry. 

2 Correspondance complete, Letter of October 1, 1719. 


Madame did not exaggerate the infatuation of her sex 
for this young man. It, indeed, almost passes belief. 
Citizens' wives, actresses, women of title, nay, even 
Princesses of the Blood, instead of waiting to be wooed, 
pursued him with a fervour and persistency which was as 
ridiculous as it was indecent. " They solicited the honour 
of being dishonoured ; and, shocking to relate, more than 
one woman surrendered herself, not from the intoxication 
of passion, but from the intoxication of pride ; more than 
one woman ruined herself in order to be ruined by him, 
and to hear it talked about. It was, as it were, a com- 
petition of scandal, as a joust of immodesty." 1 

If we are to believe Soulavie, it was no uncommon thing 
for Richelieu's confidential valet de chambre, whose post 
must have been an exceedingly lucrative one, to find 
himself entrusted with as many as ten or a dozen letters, 
each inviting his master to a rendezvous for the same 
evening. The duke, he adds, did not take the trouble to 
open all these poulets, since the majority of them were 
usually in cypher and took some time to transcribe, 
but contented himself by opening that of the lady whom 
he wished to visit. The others he locked up in his desk, 
without even breaking the seals, and left them for the 
perusal of the historians of his time who have had access 
to his papers. Since his sense of honour where the opposite 
sex was concerned was practically non-existent, he derived 
a cynical amusement from making game of the passion 
of these foolish women, and often despatched, as though 
by mistake, to one whose favours he did not happen to 
desire the billet doux of some more happy rival. This 
procedure naturally led to bitter quarrels between as- 

1 Lescure, les Mattresses du Regent. 



pirants to the ducal affections, and in March 1719 two 
high-born dames, the Marquise de Nesle and the Com- 
tesse de Polignac, fought a duel for the possession of his 
heart — with knives in the Pre-aux-Clercs, according to 
Buvat, with pistols in the Bois de Boulogne, according to 
Soulavie — for which they were subsequently banished 
by the Regent to their country-houses. 

At the time when he appears to have attracted the 
notice of Mile, de Valois, Richelieu's attention was princi- 
pally occupied by that young lady's cousin, Louise 
Anne de Bourbon-Conde, Mile, de Charolais, the third of 
the six sisters of the Due de Bourbon, all of whom had 
inherited the good looks of their mother, Madame la 
Duchesse the elder. Mile, de Charolais, however, was 
undoubtedly the flower of the flock ; in fact, she was 
generally regarded as one of the prettiest women at the 
Court. " The charms of her countenance," writes 
Rulhiere, " surpassed all that painters have been able to 
conceive ; " l while Besenval declares that " Nature had 
lavished upon her a thousand perfections," and that she 
possessed " eyes of such wondrous beauty that at the ball 
they shone through her mask and caused her always to be 
recognised." 2 

Mile, de Charolais loved Richelieu with an all-consuming 
passion, to which the duke, whose senses were pleased by 
her beauty, and whose vanity was naturally flattered by 
the preference of a Princess of the Blood, had not been 
slow to respond ; and for the past three years she had been 
his mistress. She certainly was a very devoted one, for 
when, in February 1716, the duke was sent to the Bastille 

1 Rulhiere, Anecdotes sur le Marichal de Richelieu. 
a M6 moires. 


for the second time, 1 as a punishment for having fought a 
midnight duel with the Comte de Gace in the Rue Saint 
Thomas-du-Louvre, she and her elder sister, the Princesse 
de Conti, who is also believed to have been honoured by 
Richelieu's regard, contrived to gain admittance to the 
imprisoned nobleman on several occasions, disguised as 
two charitable women who had permission to visit the 
poorer prisoners. On the death of Richelieu's neglected 
wife, Anne Catherine de Noailles, in the following autumn, 
many were of opinion that he and Mile, de Charolais 
would take advantage of the former's freedom to regu- 
larize a connection which was by this time the talk of 
Paris ; and it is certain that, had the decision rested with 
the parties themselves, they would have lost no time in 
fulfilling this anticipation. For the lady was madly in 
love with the duke ; and the duke, if he did not altogether 
reciprocate the lady's passion, was keenly alive to the 
advantages which would accrue to him from his marriage 
with a Princess of the Blood. But the pride of the Condes 
proved an insurmountable obstacle ; and, though the 
enamoured princess employed every possible persuasion 
to induce her relatives to relent, they remained inexorable. 
However, she did not abandon all hope of ultimately 
overcoming their opposition, and, in the meanwhile, 
since she was not permitted to love with the sanction of 
the Church, continued to do so without it. 

Although the charms of Mile, de Valois compared 

1 His first embastillement had taken place in April 1711, when he was 
barely fifteen, not, as is commonly supposed, owing to the resentment 
of Louis XIV. at his presumptuous advances to the Duchesse de Bour- 
gogne, but at the request of his father, whom he had exasperated by a 
whole series of delinquencies, of which the famous adventure in the 
Dauphine's bedchamber was only one. 


unfavourably with those of her cousin, she was of even 
more exalted station, and M. de Richelieu was not the 
man to despise a conquest which promised to enhance so 
much his already great reputation as a vainqueur de dames. 
He did not, however, consider it at all necessary to be off 
with the old love before being on with the new ; and, while 
paying court to the daughter of the Regent, was far from 
neglecting the daughter of the Condes, who still remained 
in ignorance of a treason which was the talk of the Court. 
At length, however, she was undeceived. 

The story goes that one evening, while playing cards at 
Saint-Cloud, Richelieu, seeking under the table for the 
feet of Mile, de Valois, between which and his own very 
tender communications had been established, addressed, 
all unwittingly, his imprudent caresses to those of her 
unfortunate rival, who, " though devoured by jealousy, 
had the patience to continue this game for a long while, 
in order to gauge the strength of his passion." At the 
conclusion of the rubber, however, she " rose like a Fury, 
with flashing eyes which seemed about to leap from her 
head, and, under the pretext of indisposition, retired to 
her apartments, to storm with anger and spite against 
Mile, de Valois, leaving the duke much disconcerted 
at the consequences of his mistake, and with little desire, 
for that evening at least, to resume his communications 
with his new inamorata." 1 What made the incident the 
more piquant, was that Mile, de Valois, who did not 
understand that Richelieu had made a mistake, and 
believed that he had really intended these demonstrations 
of affection for her cousin, was even more indignant 
than the other. Singularly enough, neither of the 

} Soulavie, Memoir es du due de Richelieu. 


princesses testified any resentment against the duke, 
who was deceiving them both, but they vowed 
eternal enmity against one another, and showed it in 
the most public manner, to the great diversion of the 

The Regent, who, though he had perforce tolerated the 
misconduct of the Duchesse de Berry, had no intention of 
extending a similar indulgence to her younger sister, 
was as angry as his indolent character would permit, 
nor was his wrath mitigated by the fact that Richelieu 
was an adherent of the party of the Bastards and an 
assiduous frequenter of the little Court of Sceaux. He 
accordingly determined to give the audacious gallant a 
broad hint as to the possible consequences of his pre- 
sumption ; and one evening, at a masked ball, having 
perceived Mile, de Valois in conversation with a gentle- 
man who was wearing a domino very closely resembling 
that which he had ascertained Richelieu was to assume 
for the occasion, he approached and said to him : " Mask, 
be careful, if you do not wish to go a third time to the 
Bastille." The person addressed, who happened to be 
one of Richelieu's friends, Montconseil by name, hastened 
to undeceive his Royal Highness, upon which the prince 
added in a threatening tone : " Tell, then, your friend 
Richelieu what I have just told you, under the impression 
that you were he." 1 

Partly to distract attention from his intrigue with 
Mile, de Valois, and partly to avenge himself for the 
opposition of her father, Richelieu carried off the actress 
la Souris, the Regent's mistress of the moment. But 
Philippe d'Orleans showed himself little moved by this 
1 Soulavie, Mimoires de due du Richelieu. 


misfortune, and promptly consoled himself with another 
daughter of Thespis, Mile. Emilie. 

Throughout the winter of 1719 Miles, de Charolais and 
de Valois continued their little comedy ; the one striving 
to win back her faithless gallant, the other to wrest him 
altogether from the faltering clasp of her cousin, both 
seemingly oblivious to the fact that Richelieu was " pro- 
viding them each day with new rivals." But, one fine 
morning at the end of March, they, in common with a 
great many other ladies, were stricken to the heart by the 
terrible news that the gates of the Bastille had closed 
upon their idol for the third time, and on this occasion for 
an infinitely more serious offence than those which had 
resulted in his previous incarcerations. 

Although Richelieu, as we have mentioned, was an 
adherent of the faction of the Bastards, he had taken no 
part in the Cellamare conspiracy, the discovery of which 
at the end of the previous year had led to the arrest and 
imprisonment of the Due and Duchesse du Maine and 
their principal supporters. But, early in 1719, he was 
rash enough to engage in a little conspiracy on his own 
account, and, seduced by the promises of the Spanish 
Minister, Alberoni, agreed to facilitate the taking of 
Bayonne, where the regiment of which he was colonel 
was stationed, by the troops of Philip V. 

Unhappily for him, the emissary whom Alberoni had 
employed in his negotiations with Richelieu, an Italian 
adventurer named Marini, had sold his services to the 
French Government, with the result that the entire 
correspondence fell into the hands of the Lieutenant of 
Police d'Argenson and Dubois. Little suspecting the 
trap into which he had fallen, on March 28 Richelieu 


went to the Minister of War, Le Blanc, " made a thousand 
protestations of devotion, and pressed him to give him 
permission to go and rejoin his regiment." 1 Later on the 
same day, however, he received intelligence which must 
have caused him considerable alarm. The Regent, who 
was, of course, kept informed of the progress of this 
affair, was indiscreet enough to let fall some words which 
implied that M. de Richelieu had got himself into very 
serious trouble. Mile, de Valois, who was informed by her 
mother of this, became very uneasy, and lost no time in 
dispatching her confidential waiting-woman, Madame 
Piche, to the Hotel de Richelieu, with a letter which 
Soulavie has preserved for us, and of which conscientious 
historians will prefer to leave to him the responsibility, 
although, as M. de Barthelemy points out, it is only fair 
to observe that its orthography bears a remarkable re- 
semblance to that of the numerous letters of the lady in 
the Archives des Affaires Etrangeres : 

" As you have assured me that there could be no proof 
against you, 2 1 do not doubt that the warning I am giving 
you will be useless. But, since it has appeared to me 
that you like to be informed of everything, I have warned 
you : the assembly of the Council is to consider the 
Spanish business. I reckon on knowing more this evening, 
which I will communicate to you ; but what urges me to 
write to you, is something which has escaped my mother, 
who was under the impression that I knew it, and who, 
when she perceived that I did not, recommended me 
strongly to say nothing about it. Write me, if you are 
without uneasiness, for I confess that I am so no longer." 3 

1 Correspondance complete de Madame, duchesse d'OrUansv, March 30. 

2 She means in connection with the Cellamare affair. 

3 Soulavie, Memoires du due de Richelieu. 


This letter was followed, a few hours later, by another, 
in which the princess warned the duke that her father had 
just said publicly that he had in his possession documents 
which contained the most damning evidence of the plots 
which had been formed against him. 

Richelieu had now very little doubt that he had been 
betrayed by Marini, and all uncertainty was removed 
when, at ten o'clock the following morning (March 29), 
while he was still in bed, Duchevron, the Provost's 
lieutenant, with a dozen archers, arrived at his hotel, and, 
scarcely giving him time to dress, conducted him to the 
Bastille. " A letter from Alberoni to this duke [Richelieu] 
has been intercepted," writes Madame, " which renders 
his treason clearer than the day. My son has caused him 
to be arrested and to be taken immediately to the Bastille. 
This duke will cause many tears to flow in Paris, for all 
the ladies are in love with him ; I do not understand 
why, for he is a little toad, in whom I find nothing 
agreeable." 1 

If M. de Richelieu's escapade had occurred while Louis 
XIV. was still on the throne, the duke would probably 
have paid for it with his head, as the Chevalier de Rohan 
did in 1674, or at least have remained a close prisoner 
in the Bastille for the rest of his days. Happily for him, 
his fate was in the hands of Dubois and the Regent, 
who both inclined to clemency, the one by system, the 
other by calculation. Happily, too, the public generally 
was disposed to regard the intrigues of a young " me- 
chant," whose follies were the talk of every cafe and 
cabaret in Paris, as a subject for merriment rather than 
for indignation, since, according to the testimony of all 

1 Correspondance compute, Letter of March 30, 1719. 


his contemporaries, it was entirely unconnected with 
the real conspiracy, of which Sceaux was the rendezvous 
and the theatre. Thus, an affair which, at first sight, 
appeared very grave, and likely to entail serious conse- 
quences for its author, soon assumed a different aspect ; 
and, after being treated for a time with some approach to 
severity, the captive was transferred from the bare and 
gloom}- 7 chamber in which he had been originally confined 
to a comfortable apartment on the second floor, and given 
some books, a backgammon-board, and a violoncello, to 
beguile the tedium of his enforced leisure. 

These concessions he probably owed to the good offices 
of his feminine adorers at the Court, and more particu- 
larly to those of Miles, de Charolais and de Valois. No 
sooner did they learn of the arrest of the duke, than the 
two princesses, hitherto so furiously jealous of one 
another, agreed to forget their rivalry for the nonce, and to 
join forces for the rescue of their common idol. The 
Regent, on his side, declared that it was his intention to 
have Richelieu brought to trial as a State criminal, 
adding that the Government had sufficient evidence in its 
possession to cost the duke four heads, if he had them. 1 

These threats, which, it is needless to say, he had no 
intention of carrying into effect, threw the princesses into 
a terrible state of alarm ; and Mile, de Charolais, in order 
to spur her cousin to the most desperate exertions, 
actually went so far as to promise her that she would 
never try to see Richelieu again, if Mile, de Valois suc- 
ceeded in obtaining his pardon from the Regent. 

That lady scarcely needed any such incitement to 
persuade her to move Heaven and earth on behalf of her 

1 Duclos, Memoires secrets. 


imprisoned gallant, and she seems to have given her 
father a very unpleasant time, " quarrelling with him, 
demanding the duke's liberation publicly, and threatening 
to make a scandal, or commit some act of folly, if he were 
not soon released from his prison." 1 Mile, de Charolais 
energetically seconded her efforts, and told the Regent, 
who was one of her soupirants, that " she refused to see 
him, since he had sent the duke to the Bastille." 2 

To the despair of the two princesses, however, Philippe 
d'Orleans pretended to be inexorable, and declared that 
Richelieu's treason merited the scaffold, and that he was 
determined to bring him to trial. 

The object of the ladies' solicitude seems to have been 
much less disquieted as to the fate in store for him. 
He read the latest romances ; dined twice a week with the 
governor ; plaj^ed upon his 'cello ; stood at his window 
and sang duets with Mile, de Launay, the Duchesse du 
Maine's sprightly young waiting-woman, who was lodged 
in a room in the same tower ; and every afternoon, after 
making an elaborate toilette, promenaded on the terrace 
of the Bastille, " when all the ladies assembled in the 
street to gaze at this beautiful image." 3 

Mile, de Valois was without doubt among these ladies, 
but she did not confine herself to such platonic visits. 
Aware that, in 1716, Mile, de Charolais had made use of a 
golden key to unlock the doors of Richelieu's prison, she 
resolved to follow her example ; and Soulavie affirms that 
she employed a large sum of money which her father had 
lately given her in corrupting the warders of the Bastille, 
in order to gain admission to the fortress. The same 

1 Me" moires du due de Richelieu. 

2 Correspondence complete. 3 Ibid. 


writer relates that the two princesses came together to 
see the duke at night, " bringing with them candles, 
Hint and steel, sweetmeats, and plenty of bank-notes in 
case of need " ; and that the prisoner concerted with 
them the answers that he should make on the morrow 
to the insidious questions of Le Blanc and d'Argenson. 

Since the late autumn of the preceding year, Mile, de 
Valois had been, as we have mentioned, living at Saint - 
Cloud with her grandmother, who, however, brought her 
almost every day to Paris to visit or assist at some social 
function. The surveillance which the old princess had 
exercised over her charge had been far from severe, 
and she had treated her with extreme indulgence ; and 
her wrath may therefore be imagined when she learned 
to what extent she had been deceived, and how hopelessly 
the girl had succeeded in compromising herself with 
" that accursed Due de Richelieu." 

After a violent scene, she sent her granddaughter back 
to her mother, much to the disgust of that lady, and 
firmly refused to receive her again ; and in a letter to 
one of her German friends she pours out her feelings 
in language " which," observes Barthelemy, " leaves us, 
unfortunately, no doubt about the pranks of Mile, de 
Valois." 1 

" You ask me," she writes, " what has recently caused me 
so much indignation. I cannot relate it in detail, but only 
as a whole. It is the frightful coquetry of Mile, de Valois 
with that accursed Due de Richelieu, who has shown 
people the letters he has received from her, for he only 
loves her from motives of vanity. All the young nobles 
of the Court have been able to see these letters, in which 

1 Les Filles du Regent. 


she gives him rendezvous. Her mother wished me to 
have her back with me, which I flatly refused ; but 
she does not cease to return to the charge, and I am 
horribly vexed ; the human race makes me shudder. 
I cannot endure the idea of seeing Mile, de Valois again, 
and I must do it, in order to avoid a very painful scandal. 
The sight of this madcap will make me ill. All this is the 
result of the apathy and fatuity of the mother. May God 
forgive her ! But she has brought her daughter up very 
badly." And she concludes by a violent tirade against 
Richelieu, whom, she declares, " she detests with all her 
heart, and would see without shedding a tear hanging 
from a gibbet." 1 

The Regent, on his side, was becoming seriously per- 
turbed at the conduct of the young princess, since he had 
no desire to see another of his daughters emulating the 
exploits of the Duchesse de Berry, and, if he appeared to 
close his eyes, it was in order to avoid the necessity of 
taking steps which would only have increased the scandal. 
At the same time, he was fully resolved to rid himself 
of this " madcap " with as little delay as might be, by 
arranging a marriage for her with some foreign prince, 
and packing her off to Germany or Italy, where her 
peccadilloes would be her husband's affair, and not his, 
and, as Madame observes, " one would no longer hear her 
talked about." 

Already there had been a question of several marriages 
for her, and when, towards the end of the previous 
summer, Provana, the Ambassador of Victor Amadeus II. 
of Savoy, King of Sicily, had come to propose the Quad- 
ruple Alliance, he had suggested a marriage between his 

1 Correspondance complete, Letter of May 13, 1719. 


master's heir, the Prince of Piedmont, and Mile, de 
Valois. This marriage appears to have been under con- 
sideration for some months, though, for political reasons, 
it did not altogether commend itself to the Regent ; 
while Dubois was strongly opposed to it. The latter, if 
we are to believe Saint-Simon, unwilling to incur the 
odium of breaking off the negotiations, had recourse to 
a characteristic expedient. He knew that Madame was 
warmly attached to her step-daughter, the Queen of 
Sicily, and corresponded with her regularly ; also that 
recent events had greatly irritated the old lady against 
Mile, de Valois. Without appearing in the matter himself, 
for Madame detested him heartily, he caused her to be 
informed of what was in the wind, " in the hope of some 
flash of German ferocity." He was not disappointed. 

" Madame," says Saint-Simon, " was in the habit of 
writing every week to the Queen of Sicily. She told her, 
without any circumlocution, that she had ascertained 
that the question of a marriage between the Prince of 
Piedmont and Mile, de Valois was being seriously dis- 
cussed ; that she loved her too much to wish to make her 
so worthless a present and to deceive her ; that she there- 
fore warned her, and so forth ; and she related to her 
forthwith all that she knew, or believed that she knew. 
Then, when the letter had been despatched, and it was 
beyond any one's power to have it stopped and seized, 
she informed the Due and Duchesse d'Orleans of all that 
it contained. The latter was exasperated, but the Due 
d'Orleans, who had never been favourably disposed to- 
wards the affair, and much less since it had been remitted 
to the Abbe Dubois, did nothing but laugh. Dubois 
laughed also, and much more heartily, at this sudden and 


surprising result of his craft. And thus this marriage 
came to nothing." 

However, at the end of the summer of 1719, rumours 
of an alliance between Mile, de Valois and another prince 
from beyond the Alps began to spread at the Court and 
rapidly gathered consistency. 

The parti in question was Francesco d'Este, Hereditary 
Prince of Modena, son of Duke Rinaldo and Charlotte 
Felicite of Brunswick-Hanover, and was at this time 
twenty- two years of age. Madame, who was not un- 
naturally inclined to regard any one who was desirous of 
taking her granddaughter off her relatives' hands through 
rose-coloured spectacles, tells us that he was " very 
favourably spoken of " ; that he " possessed ability and 
high principles," and that, although he could not be 
called handsome, he was " well brought up and very 
sensible." But, as we shall presently see, he was, though 
well-meaning enough, a poor sort of creature, and the 
very last person in the world to inspire either affection or 
respect in a romantic, high-spirited and self-willed young 
woman like Mile, de Valois. 

It was the Marchese Rangoni Machiavelli, the Modenese 
Minister at Versailles, who had first conceived the idea 
of this union and suggested it himself to the Regent, 
with whom he had succeeded in ingratiating himself " by 
a witty cynicism and by the employment of the buffoon- 
eries of his nation." 1 That prince received the proposition 
very favourably, for both on political and private grounds 
the match was one to be desired. It would rally Modena, 
which of recent years had been alternately the ally of the 
Empire and France, definitely to the side of the latter, 

1 Lemontey, les Filles du Regent, Revue retrospective, Serie I, torn. 1 


and, at the same time, disembarrass him in a decorous 
manner of a daughter whose vagaries were threatening to 
become a public scandal. 

Machiavelli duly advised his Court of the result of his 
overtures, and the Conte di Salvatico was deputed to 
proceed to France as Envoy Extraordinary and make the 
formal demand for the hand of Mile, de Valois. At the 
outset, Salvatico came near to ruining everything, since 
he was so ill-advised as to address his request to the 
King through the medium of his Majesty's gouverncur, 
the Marechal de Villeroy, instead of through Dubois, 
which so irritated that important personage that he began 
to raise all kinds of difficulties. Salvatico, however, 
realizing his mistake, hastened to repair it, with true 
Italian adroitness, and begged Dubois's acceptance of five 
valuable paintings, among which was a work by Paul 
Veronese. This timely gift proved an effective solatium 
for the Minister's wounded amour-propre, and matters 
proceeded so smoothly that in a few days nothing re- 
mained but to obtain the consent of the lady. 

This, as may be anticipated, proved no easy task, since 
the princess, more and more enamoured of Richelieu, 
obstinately refused to listen to any matrimonial proposi- 
tion, much less to one which would entail her removal to 
so great a distance from her idol ; and the Regent soon 
perceived that the only hope of persuading her to accept 
the Prince of Modena as a husband, and relieve the French 
Court of her presence, was to work upon her affection 
for her captive lover in such a way that she should be 
willing to expatriate herself for his sake. 

Richelieu had now been in the Bastille for nearly five 
months, and, notwithstanding the representations of his 


late wife's uncle, the Cardinal de Noailles, who declared 
that he was in a very precarious state of health, and the 
entreaties and reproaches of Miles, de Charolais and de 
Valois, the Regent resolutely refused to hear of his 
liberation. Moreover, towards the end of August, he 
adroitly let fall a hint that fresh documents had recently 
come to light which made the case against the prisoner 
even more grave than it already was. This had the 
effect of driving the two princesses to the last extremity 
of despair; and Philippe d'Orleans, perceiving that the 
psychological moment had arrived, played his trump card, 
and offered his daughter the liberty of Richelieu on 
condition that she would wed the Prince of Modena. 

For some days the young princess hesitated, for the 
price demanded of her was a heavy one, including as it did 
not only the renunciation of her lover, but of her country 
as well — separation from Paris and the Court, beside 
which all the rest of the world was but an aching void. 
But, with all her faults, she was a generous-hearted girl, 
who deserved a better fate than to have bestowed her 
affections upon one so little capable of appreciating them; 
and when she recognised that her father would never 
yield on any other terms, and that the condition of the 
prisoner's health — the duke had been suffering from 
dysentery — was causing the doctors who attended him 
real anxiety, she ended by consenting. 

The Regent lost no time in fulfilling his share of the 
bargain, and on August 30 Richelieu was liberated from 
the Bastille, with orders to repair to the country-house 
of the Cardinal de Noailles, and remain there until his 
Majesty's further pleasure should be known. 

Overjoyed at regaining his freedom, the duke quitted 


his gloomy prison and repaired to Conflans. But he did 
not consider it necessary to obey the latter part of the 
royal command, and intelligence soon reached the Regent 
that, when night fell, M. de Richelieu was in the habit of 
scaling the walls of the garden and making his way to 
Paris, returning, however, before his absence could be 
discovered ; and that, on these nocturnal excursions, it 
was shrewdly suspected that he had paid more than one 
visit to Mile, de Valois, 1 and had also been entertained 
by a lady who was at that moment very near his Royal 
Highness's heart. 

The consequence was that, on September 10, the duke 
was commanded to betake himself to a house belonging 
to him at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, one Dulibois, a re- 
tired colonel of dragoons, being deputed to accompany 
him, and to remain with him until recalled by his 
Majesty. But this change of residence was far from 
curing the young gentleman of his propensity for mid- 
night travel, for light carriages and swift horses were 
easy enough to procure ; and the worthy ex-dragoon was 
a convivial soul, who found M. de Richelieu's wine so 
much to his liking that, when bedtime arrived, he was 
seldom in a condition to account for his own actions, let 
alone for those of his charge. 

Detection and a lettre de cachet exiling him to 

1 If we are to believe Besenval, the duke's resourcefulness enabled 
him to gain access to his inamorata whenever he desired. "The 
apartments of Mile, de Valois at the Palais-Royal," he writes, 
"abutted, on the side of the Rue de Richelieu, on a neighbouring 
house, the wall of which was merely a partition. M. de Richelieu 
rented this house, caused the wall corresponding to the cabinet of 
Mile, de Valois to be pierced, and had a door constructed, which was 
hidden by a great cupboard, where the princess kept her preserves. 
Master of this means of approaching Mile, de Valois, I leave you to 
judge if he did not constantly take advantage of it." — M6moires. 


Richelieu, in Poitou, came towards the end of Octo- 
ber ; but this new banishment, though it put an 
effectual check on any further surreptitious visits to 
Paris, did not prevent him from maintaining an active 
correspondence with Mile, de Valois, in which he ex- 
horted her to decline to fulfil the promise her father 
had extracted from her. In consequence, the princess, 
who, according to Madame, had appeared more resigned 
to her fate, since she had seen the ravishing toilettes 
which were being made for her, 1 and the beautiful dia- 
monds which had been sent from Modena, began to evince 
an increasing repugnance to the marriage, and " although 
her conversation was gay and animated, her eyes were 
always red, and one saw clearly that she passed the night 
in weeping." 

The doleful appearance of the princess was not lost 
upon the public, and many were the chansons to which it 
gave rise, of which the following will serve as an example : 

" J'espouse un des plus petits princes, 
Maitre de tres petits Etats, 
Et qui pour ne valent pas 
Une de nos moindres provinces. 
L'on y manque de tout, la finance est petite. 
Quelle difference, grand Dieu ! 
Entre ce triste et pauvre lieu 
Et le riche lieu [Richelieu] que je quitte." 

Richelieu is believed to have cherished the hope of 
persuading Mile, de Valois to break off the match and of 
marrying her himself. But, after a while, he came to the 
conclusion that the Regent would scarcely be disposed to 
tolerate as a son-in-law a gentleman who had been guilty 

1 Madame says that she had forty different costumes ; Buvat that 
she had sixty, fifteen for each season of the year. 


of high treason, and that the most probable result of 
following in the footsteps of the Chevalier de Rion would 
be a fourth and indefinite sojourn in the Bastille, if not a 
still more unpleasant fate. An ardent lover might have 
been prepared to brave even these dangers, but vanity 
and self-interest had counted for far more in Richelieu's 
liaison with the princess than sentiment ; and so his 
letters to her grew gradually fewer and less tender, and at 
length ceased altogether. This no doubt explains why, 
towards the end of the year, Mile, de Valois, who had for 
some time past refused to share in any of the gaieties of 
the Court, reappeared at her mother's card-parties and 
other social functions, and seemed altogether more 
resigned to her approaching marriage. 

The preliminaries of that event were soon settled, for, 
for different reasons, the relatives on both sides were at 
one in their desire to hasten it. On November 26, the 
articles of the marriage-contract, which had been sent to 
Modena for approval, were returned, having been accepted 
without any comment ; on the 28th, the Regent officially 
informed the King that everything was satisfactorily 
arranged ; and the same evening the courtiers were 
authorized to pay their compliments to the family of the 

The date originally decided upon for the marriage was 
January 25, 1720, but, owing, Dangeau tells us, to an 
oversight on the part of the Bishop of Modena, who had 
omitted some formality for the publication of the banns 
in that town, it was found necessary to postpone it until 
Monday, February 12 ; the departure of the bride being 
fixed for the following Thursday. And the chronicler 
adds : " She has not yet been informed of the day on 


which she must set out, from fear of distressing her ; in 
proportion as the time of her departure draws nearer, 
her grief increases." 

In point of fact, either because Richelieu had repented 
of his prudent resolutions and had resumed his corre- 
spondence with her, or, more probably, because of her 
natural reluctance to expatriate herself, Mile, de Valois 
had begun once more to reveal the aversion with which she 
regarded her approaching marriage in a manner that was 
apparent to every one, and which, says Madame, " occa- 
sions me truly great distress." She exhausted every 
pretext that she could imagine to defer her departure, but 
Salvatico made such strong representations on the subject 
to Dubois that all her efforts proved fruitless. 

On January 31, 1720, the marriage-contract was signed. 
The King gave the bride a dot of 900,000 livres ; the 
Regent one of 200,000, and jewels to the same value, 
which included a parure of nine diamond and emerald 
clasps, and a knot of the same jewels. On February n, 
at six o'clock in the evening, the betrothal ceremony took 
place in the King's cabinet at the Tuileries, the Due de 
Chartres representing the Prince of Modena. The Car- 
dinal de Rohan officiated, and Mile, de Montpensier, the 
future Queen of Spain, held the train of her sister's mantle. 
At the conclusion of the ceremony the little Louis XV. 
went to the Palais-Royal, to take formal leave of the 
princess, and presented her with a magnificent necklace 
of pearls and diamonds. 

At noon on the following day, the marriage was 
celebrated in the chapel of the Tuileries, by the Cardinal 
de Rohan, and immediately afterwards the King, accord- 
ing to custom, conducted the bride to her carriage and, 


addressing the coachman, said: "A MoiUne." And 
the guards and officers who were to escort her to Modena 
had orders to follow her carriage, just as if she were really 
starting for Modena at that moment. 

The same day, the Marquis de Sabran, husband of the 
Regent's former inamorata, started for Modena, with 
the news of the celebration of the marriage, bearing the 
following note from the princess to her husband : 

" The ceremony, Monsieur, which has just taken place 
gives me to you, and my heart does not disavow it. I 
am setting out to begin with you a union which ought to 
make the happiness of my life, and which it is my ardent 
desire may contribute to yours." 1 

1 Buvat relates some piquant anecdotes concerning the Prince of 
Modena which were going the round of Paris. 

" We are assured that this princess (Mile, de Valois) has already- 
aroused an extraordinary jealousy between the Prince of Modena, her 
future husband, and the Prince Jean Frederic Clement, his brother, 
who is two years younger than he, the elder having been born on July 2, 
1698, and the younger on the first day of September 1700. It is 
attributed to the sight of the portrait of this princess, the beauties of 
which charmed the two brothers, as well as all the persons of the Court 
of Modena who had the pleasure of seeing the portrait, which repre- 
sented her in a state of nature. They wished to make out that the 
younger did not refrain from expressing his sentiments, and declared 
publicly that the Princess of Orleans, whom his brother Francois 
Marie was about to espouse, was the most beautiful woman who had 
ever appeared in Italy, as she was in the world ; that she could not fail 
to captivate the hearts of all who saw her or might see her, and that he 
could not refuse her his, although he had only seen her on canvas. 
This having been reported to the Prince Francois Marie, did not fail to 
arouse a jealousy so violent that he persuaded the Duke of Modena, his 
father, that, for the sake of peace, it was necessary to banish the Prince 
Jean Fr6d6ric and order him to retire to Rome, where he has been 
these two months, to divert himself." 

And Buvat adds : " It is also said, in anticipation, that jealousy will 
not fail to oblige the princess, soon after her arrival, to submit to the 
law that this passion has established there, as well as in the other 
Courts of Italy, and even among persons of less distinguished rank, and 
to wear a kind of padlock, the key of which is scrupulously guarded 
by the husband." — Journal de la R&gence, February 1720. 


The illness of the Duchesse de Villars, who had been 
selected to accompany her to Italy, as the representative 
of Louis XV., 1 necessitated the departure of the princess 
being postponed for some days beyond the date originally 
fixed, namely from the 14th to the 21st. This respite, 
needless to say, proved a most welcome one to her 
Highness, who, on her wedding-day, had had " more 
the air of a victim who was being dragged to the sacrifice, 
than of a princess who walks to the altar of Hymen ; " a 
and even Madame, who, as we have seen, had little sym- 
pathy for her granddaughter, was moved to compas- 
sion. " I have never seen so sad a bride," she writes, 
a week after the wedding. " For three days she has 
neither eaten nor slept ; she spends the nights in 

The same day on which this letter was penned, the 
princess was taken ill, and on the following morning the 
doctors pronounced her to be suffering from an attack 
of measles. This malady she undoubtedly owed to her 
obstinacy in going to Chelles, three days earlier, to take 
leave of her sister, who was herself suffering from it ; and 
Madame asserts that she had insisted on visiting the 
abbess, between whom and her younger sister there was 
very little love lost, in the hope of contracting the disease, 
and thus retarding her departure, even at the risk of her 

" I have been a prophetess of misfortune," she writes, 
" and unhappily I have spoken only too truly. When the 
Princess of Modena told me that she wished to go to 

1 The honour of being accompanied by a lady representing the King, 
Saint-Simon tells us, had never been accorded before to any but 
daughters and granddaughters of France. 

2 Besenval, Mimoires. 


Chelles to take leave of her sister, I counselled her not to 
do so, telling her that too short a time had elapsed since 
they had had small-pox in the convent ; that the abbess 
herself was suffering from measles, and that these diseases 
are easily contracted. She answered : ' That is what I 
am seeking.' I said to her : ' Take care ; one finds that 
sooner than something good, and often one's life is in 
danger.' Despite all I did, she went there on Saturday 
last and spent the whole day with her sister, the abbess. 
On Sunday, she was taken ill, and already had the 
symptoms of measles." 

The illness of the princess, which was aggravated by her 
imprudence, was a somewhat serious one, and on the 
25th her condition was decidedly grave. But in the night 
which followed she took a turn for the better, and thence- 
forth improved so rapidly that two days later the doctors, 
to her great annoyance, pronounced her fit to leave her 
bed, and her departure for Italy was fixed for March 15. 
The lady, however, much to the astonishment of those 
who knew the ingenuity she had displayed in inventing 
pretexts to defer the dreaded moment, insisted on ad- 
vancing the date and setting out five days earlier, not- 
withstanding the warnings of the doctors. The reason for 
this move was that the princess, aware that she would 
not be sufficiently recovered by the earlier date to start 
without imprudence, counted on being thus provided with 
an admirable pretext for prolonging a journey the end of 
which she regarded with so much repugnance. On the 
9th, she went, accompanied by her father and mother, 
to take leave of Madame, who tells us that " she was 
not in a condition to utter a single word, so much did she 
weep ; she could only take my hands, kiss them, and 


squeeze them in hers. She clasped her hands together 

like a person in despair. My son [the Regent] took her 

away by force, and with much emotion on his part ; 

he was doing as much violence to his feelings as to 
i >> 



Departure of Mile, de Valois — Her retinue — Premeditated delays — In- 
cessant quarrels between the French and Italians in her train — 
Nightly gambling — Orgies — Strained relations between the princess 
and the Duchesse de Villars : the affair of the soupcoupe — The 
Conte di Salvatico, Envoy Extraordinary of the Duke of Modena — 
His ridiculous passion for the princess — His love transformed into 
hatred by her refusal to listen to him — Reception at Lyons — Arrival 
at Avignon : visit to the Ghetto — Madame de Bacqueville, favourite 
of the princess — Salvatico writes to the Regent demanding her re- 
call — The Regent consents, but it is decided to conceal this decision 
from the princess until she has embarked at Antibes — Suspicions of 
the princess : her letter to her father — Arrival at Antibes — The 
princess is informed of the recall of her favourite. 

EARLY in the afternoon of the following day, the 
Princess of Modena set out on her journey to 
Antibes, where she was to embark for Genoa. She was 
accompanied by a veritable Court, or rather a caravan, 
numbering over one hundred and fifty persons. The 
Duchesse de Villars, Madame de Simiane, one of the ladies 
of the Duchesse d'Orleans, and Mesdames de Bacqueville 
and de Goyon, occupied seats in her carriage. To these 
last two ladies, and particularly to Madame de Bacque- 
ville, the princess was greatly attached, and she had 
demanded and obtained from her father a promise that 
she should be allowed the consolation of her society at 
Modena. The Regent accompanied his daughter as far 
as Essonne, where she was to pass the night, and then 
took leave of her and returned to Paris, doubtless felici- 
tating himself on having at last got rid of a young lady 



who had promised to become a terrible handful. But his 
responsibilities, as we shall see, were far from being at an 

On the 1 2th, the princess arrived at Fontainebleau, 
where she remained two days, on the pretext of indis- 
position. This was the beginning of interminable delays, 
for her Highness availed herself of every conceivable 
pretext for deferring the dreaded meeting with her 
husband ; while her Court, composed as it was of two 
nationalities with very little love for one another, was dis- 
tracted by jealousy and insubordination ; and many of 
the disputes over etiquette which were continually arising 
were so bitter that it was considered necessary to refer 
them to the French Court for settlement, and to await its 
decision before resuming the journey. By March 17 the 
cortege had advanced no farther than Briare, from 
which town Desgranges, the Master of the Ceremonies, 
writes to the Regent : " We make slow progress. It 
is for your Royal Highness to say whether this is expedient 
for the princess, and accords with the impatience which 
the prince ought to feel, and with the expense. Yester- 
day, after stopping for the night, we journeyed for three 
hours. This is not travelling, and, however anxious 
the equerry may be to spare his horses, we ought to make 
a passable day's journey ; there are nineteen horses for 
two carriages. If you write something about our progress, 
you must not let it be known that I have had the honour 
of speaking of it to your Royal Highness." 1 " We have 
news of Madame de Modene from Nevers," writes Dan- 
geau, on March 27. " She continues her journey in a 
rather leisurely fashion, and when she arrives at the 

1 Archives des Affaires £trang£res, cited by Barthelemy. 


places where she is to pass the night, she plays at biribi 
until three o'clock in the morning, 1 and does not start 
again until midday." 

At Nevers, where she was accorded a magnificent 
reception and sumptuously lodged, a slight attack of 
fever furnished the august traveller with an excuse for 
remaining for the Easter fetes. Desgranges informed the 
Regent that the princess had performed her religious 
duties in a manner that edified all her little Court, which, 
however, does not seem to have profited much by her 
example, for though the French conformed regularly 
enough to the canonical prescriptions, the Italians, " see- 
ing themselves outside their country and deprived of the 
advantages of hypocrisy," 2 produced all kinds of dispen- 
sations and insisted on being served en gras throughout 
Holy Week. Moreover, no sooner had they heard Mass, 
than they all hurried off to play biribi, and gambled until 
the small hours of the following morning. 

After remaining a week at Nevers, the princess moved 
on to Moulins, where another long delay was only pre- 

1 This perpetual gambling was the most unpleasant feature of this 
singular journey. The bank was held by professional gamblers, who 
preceded the princess and arranged the tables against her arrival in 
every town at winch she intended to stop. The harm thus done was 
incalculable, for, though the members of the princess's suite, for the 
most part hardened gamesters, might be trusted to take care of them- 
selves, this was not the case with the provincial gentry and townsfolk, 
who, coming to pay their respects to the princess, allowed themselves 
to be drawn into a game of which they were quite ignorant, with some- 
times disastrous consequences. " That famous ship of purple and gold," 
writes Lemontey, " which bore a courtesan-queen into the arms of 
Mark Antony, appears to me charged with less opprobrium than this 
slow itinerary, in which, already corrupted in the flower of her youth 
and travelling towards throne and altar like a scourge, a princess of 
eighteen years scattered poison into people's hearts, consternation into 
families, and that sudden ruin which follows despair and suicide." 

1 Lemontey, let Fillet du Regent. 


vented by the intervention of the Duchesse de Villars, who 
wrote to the Regent, complaining bitterly of the way 
everything was being mismanaged, and threatening to 
return to Paris if she were not invested with full au- 
thority. Between this lady and the princess relations 
had been exceedingly strained almost from the first day 
of the journey. The duchess pretended that her rank 
entitled her to share with the latter the honours of the 
soupcoupe, that is to say, to drink from a wine-glass 
presented on a soupcoupe. This the princess absolutely 
refused to admit, and, to humble the vanity of the 
duchess, she ceased to dine and sup with her, or, when 
she was obliged to, abstained from drinking during the 
whole meal. Madame de Villars followed her example, 
and decided to die of thirst rather than compromise by 
so much as a drop of water the pretensions of the duch- 

The illness of Madame de Simiane, who was found to be 
suffering from smallpox and had to be left behind, in 
charge of a doctor who had been summoned from Lyons, 
detained the travellers three days at La Palisse, and, 
continuing their leisurely progress, on April 15 they 
reached Tarare, where they were overtaken by a special 
courier from the Regent, with a letter for his daughter, 
in which he informed her that he " was surprised and 
annoyed at the time she had lost on her journey by 
too frequent and too long stoppages," and directed her 
" to give orders that they should make all the speed that 
could possibly be made without causing her inconveni- 
ence." The writer had certainly good reason for his 
irritation, for, owing to the incessant delays, the expenses 
of the journey which would, in any circumstances, have 


been very great, were rapidly mounting up to a most 
alarming figure. 

The princess, however, troubled herself very little about 
the paternal indignation, and nothing at all about the 
French Treasury, which would have to defray the cost of 
her caprices, and, so far from endeavouring to make up for 
lost time, she cudgelled her brains to devise fresh pretexts 
for delay. "Letters are to hand from Madame de Modene," 
writes Dangeau, on April 19. " She writes from Roanne, 
and continues her journey very slowly." And he adds : 
"The Envoy of Modena [the Conte di Salvatico] complains 
a little of the want of consideration which she has for him : 
this princess frequently takes her meals quite alone." 

This requires some explanation. The Conte di Salvatico 
was a grotesque personage, with a long, cadaverous face, 
a scraggy neck, and a ludicrous gait, which resembled 
hopping rather than walking ; while he bent almost 
double whenever he bowed to any one, and spoke the 
most detestable French. Notwithstanding all this, he 
was extremely vain and imagined himself irresistible. 
No sooner was he presented to Mile, de Valois, than he 
became desperately enamoured of her, and the enthusi- 
astic description of her charms which he despatched to 
Modena no doubt served to communicate something of 
his ardour to Francesco d'Este. Such was his conceit 
that he believed in a possible success, and more than once 
presented himself at the door of her apartments at hours 
when visitors were not admitted. " So far from en- 
deavouring to conceal his passion," writes Madame, " he 
proclaimed it openly in the salons of Versailles," adding 
protestations which the pen of that outspoken old lady 
is alone able to transcribe. Madame, by the way, appears 


to have regarded Salvatico's infatuation as a rather 
fortunate circumstance for her granddaughter, since he 
was the only person able to make known at Modena 
the reputation she bore in Paris. 

This little comedy at first caused Mile, de Valois 
considerable amusement, but after a time she began to 
find it decidedly embarrassing ; and when during the 
journey, despite sundry hints from the princess, Salvatico 
continued his unwelcome attentions, and at length went 
so far as to make her a formal declaration of love, at the 
same time threatening to make her very unhappy if she 
declined to listen to him, she rebuked him sharply, 
avoided him as much as possible, and excluded him from 
her table. Thenceforth, love was transformed into hatred 
and the one-time adorer into an implacable enemy. 

On April 16, the princess arrived at Lyons, where a 
reception worthy of the second city in the kingdom 
awaited her. The municipal authorities, in their robes 
of office, with the Provost of the Merchants at their head, 
met her at the Porte de Vaise and presented her with the 
usual hyperbolical address of welcome ; cannon thundered 
forth salutes ; and " the great number of the bourgeois 
and the people who were in the streets and at the windows 
was a public testimony of the eagerness of this town to 
pay respect to all who bear the august name of our Kings. " 
After all this, her Highness naturally felt that it would 
be exceedingly ungracious on her part to hasten her 
departure ; and so she remained a week, receiving deputa- 
tions, visiting the public buildings and the principal indus- 
tries of the town, going to the play, and concluding the 
day with biribi and lansquenet. 

On the 23rd, the caravan quitted Lyons, all the cannon 


on the ramparts and the arsenal firing a parting salute, 
and moved slowly on to Vienne. On leaving this town 
on the 25th, which happened to be the anniversary of her 
husband's birth, the princess, in honour of the occasion, 
gave the sum of 10,000 livres for distribution among the 
poor. It was easy for her to be generous at the expense 
of the French Treasury, and the sums she dispensed 
" four largesses et aumones " in the course of her travels 
were not the least formidable item when the bill came to 
be cast up. 

May 4 found her at Avignon, where she was lodged in 
the ancient palace of the Popes. She was very gracious 
to the Papal officials, and, after visiting the principal 
churches and convents, expressed her intention of in- 
specting the Ghetto — it was an excuse for wasting another 
day — much to the gratification of its inmates. Their 
gratification, however, was somewhat discounted by the 
trouble and expense which this honour entailed, for they 
were required " to cover the filthy streets with sand, to 
decorate the fronts of their houses, and to scatter flowers 
and odoriferous herbs on the ground to counteract the 
evil smells." However, they rose to the occasion nobly, 
and illuminated their synagogue with six hundred 
candles, notwithstanding that candles were at this period 
exceedingly dear, selling at three livres the pound. 

After remaining four days at Avignon, the princess 
continued her journey, accompanied for some distance 
by Monseigneur d'Eley, the vice-legate, and crossed the 
Durance at Bompas to reach Marseilles. Her Highness 
was in a far from amiable humour, for she had reason to 
suspect that an intrigue was on foot to separate her 
from her friend and confidante, Madame de Bacqueville. 


This Madame de Bacqueville, " a creature without 
reputation and without morals," 1 had been an intimate 
friend of the princess from the latter's childhood, and 
exercised over her an influence almost as pernicious as 
that which Madame de Mouchy had exercised over the 
Duchesse de Berry. During the journey she had never 
ceased to encourage the princess in all her caprices, 
even to the length of conducting herself with unseemly 
levity in church, 2 had sought to embitter the quarrel 
between her and the Duchesse de Villars, and had mocked 
openly at the enamoured Salvatico. That personage 
was deeply incensed against her, and from Valence he 
addressed a letter to the Regent, throwing all the re- 
sponsibility for the unreasonable delays that had occurred, 
the frenzied gambling that went on nightly, " sometimes 
for seventeen consecutive hours," and the quarrels with 
the Duchesse de Villars, upon her, and declaring that the 
presence of such a woman at Modena would ruin his 
daughter with the Duke, her father-in-law, and entreating 
him not to allow her to accompany the princess into Italy. 
The Regent, to whom other persons had already written 
in the same sense, at once resolved to retain Madame de 
Bacqueville in France, and despatched orders to her to 
that effect ; and, by the same courier, a letter to his 
daughter explaining that his reason for recalling the lady 
was the strong objection which her family had raised to 
her expatriating herself. These letters were addressed 
to Madame de Villars, who was informed of their con- 

1 Lemontey, les Filles du Regent. 

3 " What happened yesterday at Romans is altogether extraordinary, 
where she [Madame de Bacqueville] approached the princess at Mass, 
and made her laugh and jest, to the great scandal of all the town, and 
particularly of the confessor [the Abbe Colibeaux], who wept at it" 
(Letter of Salvatico to the Regent, April 30, 1720). 


tents and charged to deliver them. But that lady, know- 
ing the character of the princess and " fearing a terrible 
scandal," after consultation with Salvatico, begged the 
Regent to allow her to defer this until the princess had 
embarked at Antibes, to which he consented. 

The princess, however, had, as we have said, a shrewd 
suspicion of what was in the wind and, before leaving 
Avignon, she wrote to her father, imploring him " not 
to crown her despair and her unhappiness by depriving 
her of the only consolation she could have, and which 
he had so often promised her." This letter she entrusted 
to one of her valets de chambre, and announced her inten- 
tion to await the answer at Marseilles ; but at Orgon 
orders were received from the Regent formally forbidding 
her to pass through Marseilles. Nevertheless, she insisted 
on spending a day there, and then decided to go to 
Toulon, where she assisted at the launching of a ship, 
and thence to Frejus. 

" The Duchess of Hanover," writes Madame, " has no 
need to hurry to see her new granddaughter, our de- 
moiselle de Valois, who is in not the least hurry to reach 
Modena. She is a person singularly fanciful and wilful ; 
without paying any attention to the pressing recommen- 
dations of her father, she intends to make a tour through 
the whole of Provence, and to visit Toulon, which is 
altogether out of her way. She intends also to go to 
Saint-Baume. She troubles not the least about all the 
expense which this entails, and which falls upon her 
father. This greatly irritates me, although the father 
and the mother deserve to receive nothing but mortifica- 
tion from their daughter, so much have they spoiled her. 
I have seen many wrong-headed women, but I have never 



found one so bad as this ; the blood of the Montespan 
shows itself plainly in her. But it is not my fault, and I 
can say to my son, as in the play : ' Tu I' as voulu, Georges 
Dandin.' " 1 

The messenger whom the princess had despatched to 
Paris did not bring back any answer to the letter with 
which he had been entrusted, which confirmed her 
suspicions on the subject of Madame de Bacqueville; 
and she questioned the Duchesse de Villars, to whom 
she had thought it advisable to apologize for her haughti- 
ness during the journey, as to whether she had received 
any orders from the Regent in regard to that lady. 
The duchess, dreadfully embarrassed, replied that, if she 
had received any such order, she would have communi- 
cated it to her. Upon which the princess observed that, 
although Madame de Villars might cherish justifiable 
grievances against her, she did not believe that she would 
deceive her. Later in the day, she asked Salvatico for a 
list of those whom she was to take with her to Modena ; 
and that gentleman, not daring to omit the name of 
Madame de Bacqueville, wrote it down at the head, and 
then hurried off to Madame de Villars, to protest that 
he had only done this to avoid a scandal, and to beg her 
to deliver the Duke of Modena from a person who " would 
cause him to die of grief." The duchess rated the Italian 
sharply for his pusillanimity, and accused him of wishing 
to throw all the odium of the deception upon her, but, 
nevertheless, consented to continue it. 

Finally, on May 28, they reached Antibes, having 
occupied eleven weeks to accomplish a journey which, 
with reasonable expedition, would not have needed more 

1 Correspondance complete, Letter of June 16, 1720. 


than a month, and at five o'clock on the following after- 
noon the Princess of Modena went on board the galley 
which was to convey her to Genoa. When darkness fell, 
this vessel and the squadron which was to escort it, 
which included two Sardinian galleys, were brilliantly 

Once safely on board, it was necessary to acquaint the 
princess with the order recalling Madame de Bacqueville, 
and to give her her father's letters. The execution of this 
unpleasant duty was postponed until the morrow, in order 
that the Princess of Monaco, who had come to visit her 
and had remained to supper, " might not be a witness of 
her grief." But when the critical moment arrived, the 
courage of the Duchesse de Villars failed her completely, 
and she begged the princess's half-brother, the Chevalier 
d'Orleans, 1 who commanded the galleys, to take her place. 
The chevalier consented, but he does not appear to have 
had much relish for the commission, for it was not until 
they had been two days at sea that he could bring himself 
to discharge it. 

To the great relief of Madame de Villars, the storm 
which she had so much dreaded did not break, and the 
grief of the princess at the separation from her confidante, 
" although extreme, was very gentle " ; she refrained from 
addressing any reproaches to the duchess for her part 
in the deception which had been practised upon her, and 
wrote to her " cher papa " that, "notwithstanding that 
his orders had crowned her unhappiness and her despair, 
she knew only how to obey him, even if he demanded 
her life." 

1 Jean Philippe d'Orleans (1702-1748), natural son of the Regent, 
by the Comtesse d'Argenton. He was General of the Galleys and 
Grand Prior of France. 


The fact is that her Highness had had the sense to com- 
prehend that, although Philippe d'Orleans might be the 
most long-suffering of fathers, she must by this time have 
pretty well exhausted his indulgence, and that to alienate 
him altogether would be the height of folly, in view of the 
fact that she would have to reckon with a dangerous 
enemy at the Court of Modena, in the person of the 
egregious Salvatico, who would be certain to do every- 
thing in his power to injure her with the Duke. She had 
therefore judged it prudent to resign herself to the sacrifice 
of her unworthy favourite, for whom she merely de- 
manded a pension. This request was immediately granted, 
and Madame de Bacqueville was accorded a pension of 
6000 livres, " to console her for no longer being able 
to poison a young princess by her counsels and her 
example." 1 About the same time, the Duchesse de 
Villars received one of double that amount, presumably 
to compensate her for the bickerings over the soupcoupe. 
One would perhaps have thought it would have been 
possible to find a better use for the public money. 

1 Lemontey, les Filles dn Regent. 


Arrival at Genoa — Unpleasantness over the payment of the princess's 
dowry : impertinent conduct of Salvatico — Departure for Modena 
— The Duke of Modena and his two sons meet the princess at 
Reggio — Portrait of Francesco d'Este — Character of the Duke — 
Deadly monotony of his Court — Persecution of the princess by 
Salvatico — The princess falls ill of smallpox — Singular conjugal 
relations — Letters of the Abb6 Colibeaux, confessor to the princess, 
on this delicate subject — Chavigny, French Minister at Genoa, sent 
by the Regent to verify the facts — His report — Severity of the 
Duke towards the young couple — Pilgrimage to Loretto — The prin- 
cess persuades her husband to fly with her to France — Her letter 
to her father — The Regent refuses to receive them, and despatches 
the Abbe Philibert to persuade them to return— Despair of the 
princess — Her return to Modena — Mortifying reception — Salvatico 
resumes his persecution — -Ineffectual protests of Chavigny and 
Philibert — Return of Francesco d'Este — Visit of the prince and 
princess to Lucca — They take up their residence at a country-house 
near Reggio — Anguish of the princess on learning of the reported 
marriage of the Due de Richelieu — She becomes more reconciled to 
her lot — Birth of a son. 

ON June 3 the squadron arrived off Genoa, but it 
was not until the evening of the following day 
that the princess was able to disembark, owing to a 
difference of opinion between the French officers and 
the Government of the Most Serene Republic on the 
question of the salute. Finally, it was arranged that 
the cannon of the city and of the galleys should fire 
simultaneously ; and a deputation of six Genoese nobles 
put off to the squadron to bid her Highness welcome 
and escort her on shore. She landed at ten o'clock at 
night, and was conducted to the Palazzo Durazzo, where 
the Modenese ladies and officials charged to receive her 



had been waiting for nearly a month. The princess, how- 
ever, declined to avail herself of their services until the 
eve of her departure, in order to avoid the disputes over 
precedence which threatened to ensue between them and 
her French attendants. 

The Genoese Government wished to give a grand ball 
and other fetes in honour of their distinguished guest ; 
but the latter declined, as she maintained that she 
ought to be treated as a Princess of the Blood Royal 
of France, and not as a Modenese princess. She was, 
besides, in no humour just then to take part in any 
festivities ; while serious unpleasantness had arisen 
over the payment of her dowry, which was causing 
her the keenest mortification. In accordance with cus- 
tom, the dowry ought to have been paid to Salvatico, 
as the representative of the Duke of Modena, at the 
same time as the princess was formally delivered into 
his charge. But, through some misunderstanding, the 
French resident at Genoa, the Comte de Chavigny, had 
received neither the money nor any orders on the sub- 
ject ; and the vindictive Italian, delighted at an op- 
portunity of humiliating the lady who had so con- 
temptuously rejected his adoration, intimated that 
he should refuse to take charge of her Highness until 
the dowry was forthcoming. Not content with that, 
he had the impertinence to present himself at the 
princess's apartments at midnight, and complain bitterly 
to the Duchesse de Villars of the failure of the French 
Court to carry out its obligations. Finally, it was 
arranged that a courier should be despatched to Modena, 
to ascertain the wishes of the Duke, as the princess 
declined to leave Genoa until these were known, declaring, 

Francesco d'Este, Hereditary Prince of Modena 
(afterwards Francesco II., Dukk of Modena) 

From an engraving by Cornelius Meysens 



with reason, that " it was impossible to deliver her up 
without knowing whether she were wanted." 

The Duke's reply arrived on June 8, and was to the 
effect that, having every confidence in the word of the 
King of France, he would receive his daughter-in-law 
without waiting for the dowry ; and at four o'clock on the 
morning of June II, the princess, " not without extreme 
distress," writes Madame de Villars, " bade farewell to 
that lady and the rest of her French attendants who were 
returning to France, and took the road to Piacenza, this 
early start being made to avoid travelling during the heat 
of the day." 

Passing through the Milanese, where every honour 
was paid her, on June 20 the princess arrived at Reggio, 
where she found the Duke of Modena and his two sons 
awaiting her. The Duke hurried to prevent his daughter- 
in-law alighting, and " addressed to her some very 
affectionate words ; after which the prince advanced, 
kissed his wife on both cheeks, and seated himself beside 

The poor girl must have felt her heart sink as 
she contemplated the man with whom she was 
probably condemned to spend the rest of her days. 
She had not expected to find him handsome, although 
the portrait which had been sent to Paris had repre- 
sented him as far from unprepossessing ; but this short, 
insignificant-looking youth, with his long, brown face, 
and melancholy, black eyes, was positively ugly. And 
then how dull he seemed, how gauche, how timid ! Be- 
yond mumbling a few banal compliments, like a schoolboy 
repeating a lesson, he had not a word to say for himself. 

The " happy pair " entered the town, escorted by 


over a hundred carriages, each drawn by six horses, 
filled with the nobility of the country, and remained 
there for several days, while they were entertained 
to a succession of fetes. Then they proceeded to Modena, 
where another flattering reception awaited them ; but 
scarcely had the princess installed herself in her apart- 
ments in the imposing Palazzo Ducale, than the Court 
returned to Reggio, to assist at another round of fetes. 

These festivities served to afford the expatriated 
princess some distraction, and left her little time for 
brooding over the separation from all her friends; and 
on July 24 Dangeau announces that she is " much more 
pleased with the country than she expected to be." 
But, once they were over, and the Court of Modena 
settled down to its ordinary life, she discovered that 
her worst fears were to be realised. The Duke was an 
austere, bigoted man, ruled by monks and Jesuits, and 
lay favourites, who practised, or at any rate affected, 
an excessive devotion ; and his Court was the reflection 
of his own dull and monotonous existence. It was, 
indeed, more like a monastery than a Court. Every 
one was expected to rise very early and attend Mass ; 
dinner was served at an hour when many of the fashion- 
able ladies of Paris and Versailles were sipping their 
morning chocolate ; the usual occupation of the ducal 
family in the afternoon was a drive, the carriages pro- 
ceeding at an almost funereal pace ; supper was at eight 
o'clock ; and at ten they went to bed. In short, no 
greater contrast to the gay and feverish life of the Court 
of France could well be imagined. 

To increase the princess's discontent, Salvatico had 
been appointed Grand Master of the Court, which pro- 


vided him with numerous opportunities of making 
himself unpleasant, of which he did not fail to take 
every advantage. He claimed the right of entering 
her apartments at any hour he wished ; he is said to 
have passed a whole night at her door ; he intercepted 
the letters which her relatives and friends in France 
wrote to her, and actually had the audacity to suppress 
several from the Regent, in order to create the im- 
pression that she had quarrelled with her father ; he 
furnished blind and lame horses for her carriage and 
pewter for her table, and, in fact, neglected no means 
of annoying her. 

Furious with indignation, she sought the advice 
of the Abbe Colibeaux, who had remained with her 
in the quality of confessor. The abbe endeavoured 
to calm her, pointing out that Salvatico was protected 
by the Jesuits, who ruled the Duke, and that it would 
be most imprudent to make enemies of them. She 
declined to listen to him and complained to her husband, 
who spoke to his father " and besought him to get rid 
of this mischievous devil." 1 But the " mischievous 
devil ,; was far too useful a servant for the Duke to 
dispense with, his powers of vision and of hearing being 
preternaturally acute ; and the only result of the prince's 
interference was to embitter Salvatico still further 
against the princess. 

Meanwhile, that young lady had been endeavouring 
to instill a little animation into the dull Modenese Court. 
She began to hold receptions ; she installed a biribi table 
in her apartments ; she entertained some of the leading 

1 Correspondance complete de Madame, Duchesse d'Orlians, July 
30, 1720. 


ladies of the town to supper ; and she made friends 
with her three sisters-in-law, timid girls, whom their 
austere father had relegated to an almost cloistral 
existence, and took them alternately for drives into 
the country in a phaeton, which she drove herself. 

This pleased the public, but it did not please the spiteful 
Salvatico, who persuaded the Duke that his daughter- 
in-law ought not to be out so late, " on account of the 
dew," although Coiibeaux tells us that she never returned 
to the palace later than five o'clock. He also complained 
that she drove much too fast, and would wear out her 
horses, which would have to be replaced at considerable 
expense ; that she kept the young princesses up too 
late at night, which was detrimental to their health, 
if not to their morals ; and he endeavoured to deprive 
her of their society, by suggesting that they should 
be placed in a convent. The gloomy old bigot, who 
had not the smallest sympathy with the exuberant 
spirits of youth, listened with frowning brow, and did 
not fail to intimate his displeasure to his daughter-in- 
law. The ducal reprimand, however, had little effect, 
and the princess continued her country-excursions and 
her card-parties until, about the middle of August, she 
became unwell, and the doctors assured her that she was 

Although, as we shall presently see, this was alto- 
gether impossible, the princess did not express any 
incredulity ; but kept to her apartments, and followed 
the regimen prescribed for her. Soon, however, the 
doctors were compelled to admit that their diagnosis 
was incorrect, and that what they had taken for the 
symptoms of pregnancy were those of smallpox. 


For some time the princess was very ill ; indeed, 
for :wo or three days she was considered to be in such 
grave danger that the Sacraments were administered ; 
and she called Colibeaux to her bedside, and, handing 
him a casket, directed him to burn all the papers which 
it contained, without saying anything about it. It is 
not improbable that among these papers were the love- 
letters which she had received from the fascinating 

Eventually, she recovered, and found, to her in- 
expressible relief, that the fell disease had respected 
her face, and that she was scarcely marked at all. Her 
first thought was to write to her father, whom, in view 
of the unpleasant situation of affairs at Modena, she 
was now most anxious to conciliate, to inform him of 
her return to health, and to assure him that " death 
itself would not have been capable of preventing her 
from loving him with all her heart." The Regent, though 
he probably entertained some doubts as to the sincerity 
of these assurances, replied in a very affectionate letter, 
and ordered a Te Deum to be sung at Notre-Dame 
for his daughter's recovery. Salvatico, on his side, 
testified his joy by reducing the salaries of the princess's 
Household all round, notwithstanding that the emolu- 
ments of even quite important officials at the Court 
of Modena were already so low that they would have 
been rejected with contempt by the lackeys at Versailles 
or the Palais-Royal. 1 

1 " The retrenchment is most shameful," writes Colibeaux, " for 
the majority of the marquises and counts who fill the ante-chambers 
of this Court have only an old louis d'or of Parma a month for 
salary and everything." Letter of September 22, 1720, published by 


To beguile the tedium of her convalescence, the princess 
formed a close friendship with a young and pretty woman 
of the Court, the Marchesa Levisani. But soon the duke, 
instigated doubtless by Salvatico, determined to put an 
end to this intimacy, which was apparently considered 
derogatory to the dignity of his daughter-in-law, and 
requested Colibeaux and Madame Piche to employ their 
influence with her Highness to persuade her to renounce 
it. Both, however, declined to interfere, and Colibeaux 
wrote indignantly to the Regent that they seemed to 
desire to deprive the princess of the little amusement 
that she could find at Modena. 

The Prince of Modena, who during his wife's illness 
and convalescence had not been permitted by the Duke 
to approach her, and had passed the time at his villa 
at Sassuolo, returned towards the end of September ; 
but his reappearance upon the scene brought no pleasure 
to the princess, but very much the contrary. If she 
had cherished any hope that her first impressions of 
her husband had been too hastily formed, and that 
he would improve upon a nearer acquaintance, it had 
very speedily been dissipated. Not only was Francesco 
d'Este plain, awkward and shy, but dull, stupid, morose, 
and close-fisted. Moreover — and this was a matter which 
threatened to destroy the peace of the new menage 
— whether it was that his wife took too little trouble 
to conceal her indifference for such a partner, or that 
the possession of this French princess, with her beauty, 
her pride, her vivacity, and her savoir-faire, was too 
imposing for him, the marriage had not yet been con- 

The letters of the Abbe Colibeaux, preserved in the 


Archives des Affaires Etrangeres, initiate us into the 
secrets of this princely household. For the auricular 
confession and the jurisdiction which the priests of 
those days arrogated to themselves in matrimonial 
questions permitted the ecclesiastics to express them- 
selves with much greater frankness than the doctors, 
who confined themselves to material facts, without 
troubling about moral considerations ; and the abbe, 
charged by the Regent to keep him informed of the 
most intimate details of his daughter's life, acquitted 
himself of his mission with a fidelity so scrupulous as 
to render a considerable part of his despatches quite 
unsuitable for publication, save in the most unblushing 
of chroniques scandalenses. Here, however, are some 
passages which may with safety be transcribed : 

" October 3, 1720. — I believe that the prince has some 
share in the chapter of the Canon Law which speaks 
de frigidis et maleficiatis." 

" November 7, 1720. — Everything would go on mar- 
vellously well if it were not for the prince's weakness 
of temperament, to say nothing more ; for the princess 
says that he is incapable. He gives assurances to the 
contrary. Madame Piche and I have given the Princess 
of Modena on this matter the most suitable advice. 
She assured me again yesterday that she has followed 
it, but that it has only served to confirm this truth 
more and more. I have begged her to continue, for the 
prince is very timid, and she has given me her promise. 
One must rely on the good faith of the princess, who has 
always appeared to me very sincere." 

" November 21, 1720. — The subject of the quarrel 
is that the prince loves greatly the princess, and would 


like to give her proofs of it ; but his ability does not 
correspond to his good intentions, which is a pity." 
Colibeaux adds that, after this quarrel, the prince had 
an interview with his father, at which he, much to his 
embarrassment, was requested to be present, and that 
his Highness had been sent by the Duke to Bologna, 
with an intimation that he was not to return until he 
had succeeded in overcoming his timidity." 

" November 28, 1721. — All Modena knows it (i.e. 
that the marriage is not yet consummated), and thus 
all Italy will know it soon. People say that the princess 
is to blame. I have made her understand how essential 
it is that she should exculpate herself in the eyes of 
the public, and behave in good faith in this particular ; 
that the laws of marriage which are made for sovereign, 
as well as for private, persons oblige . . . and that, as 
regards myself, I cannot permit her to approach the 
Sacraments, unless I am assured that she will do her 
duty, and without trickery." 

" December 19, 1721. — I have reason to believe that 
the princess does her duty in this particular ; she has 
promised me, and she assures me of it." 

The Regent, disquieted by these reports, instructed 
Chavigny, the French Minister at Genoa, to proceed 
to Modena, to study the question on the spot and verify 
the facts. Chavigny passed a month at the Court, inter- 
viewed all the parties concerned, and confirmed the 
opinion of the confessor that the blame did not He with 
the princess, " who had not testified a repugnance 
for her husband which could be made the subject of 
any reproach." 1 He appears to have been by no means 

1 Chavigny to the Regent, January 14, 1721, cited by Lemontey. 


favourably impressed with the latter, whom he describes 
as "of very limited intelligence and not wanting in 
dissimulation and cunning." 

During his stay, the princess pressed him to en- 
deavour to destroy the credit of Salvatico, but this 
he prudently declined to attempt, preferring " to 
leave this work to the natural inconstancy of the 
Duke," who was in the habit of changing his favourites 
as frequently as the Regent did his mistresses. How- 
ever, there were as yet no signs of Salvatico's favour 
diminishing, and, thanks to the persistent malignity 
with which he pursued her, and the irritation of the 
Duke at the prospect of the failure of his hopes, the 
princess's situation was an extremely unpleasant one. 
The Duke did not share the opinion of Colibeaux and 
Chavigny, and had insisted on his daughter-in-law 
sacrificing the Marchesa Levisani, who, he believed, 
was exercising a pernicious influence over her, and 
acting as intermediary between her and her friends in 
France, and that lady had been banished from the Court ; 
while he talked of placing his daughters in a convent, 
in order to deprive her of the consolation of their 


The prince was also experiencing a far from pleasant 
time, as his father, who had always detested him, now 
treated him in a most unpaternal manner. He was 
also exceedingly mortified to learn that the situation 
in this singular menage was common talk in Paris, 
and had an angry scene with his wife on the subject. 
Very superstitious, he became convinced that a spell 
had been cast over the marriage, and implored Colibeaux 
to exorcise the demon, which the abbe declined to do, 


explaining gravely that he knew of no prayers applicable 
to such a case. 

Then he decided to make a pilgrimage with his wife to 
the shrine of Our Lady of Loretto. Colibeaux approved 
this project, though he confided his opinion to the Regent 
that, " if this journey had any result, it would be a true 
miracle." And a few days later he writes : " This journey 
is regarded as the last resource of the marriage, after 
which one can have no further hope " ; adding that the 
princess has promised to be very kind indeed to her 
husband, and that he means to see that she keeps her 
word. 1 

It is to be feared that the worthy abbe, either out of 
complaisance for his august penitent, or from regard 
for his own reputation as a director of consciences, 
had all along been deliberately closing his eyes to the real 
facts of the case, since he can hardly have failed to be 
aware that the princess regarded Italy as a frightful exile, 
detested her husband, and had only one idea : to get her 
marriage annulled and to return to her beloved France. 
The unhappy Prince of Modena was perfectly capable of 
continuing the succession to the ducal throne, as, indeed, 
he subsequently proved ; but he was painfully shy, and 
his consort, so far from giving him the smallest encourage- 
ment, received his awkward attempts at tenderness with 
the coldest indifference or ill-concealed disgust. 

The prince and princess left Modena, accompanied by a 
considerable suite, which included Colibeaux, the faithful 
Madame Piche, the Marchesa Rangoni, Grand Mistress 
of the Court and a staunch ally of Salvatico, and the 
Contessa Bosquetti, the princess's favourite of the 
1 Letters of March 15 and 23, 1721, cited by Lemontey. 


moment. The most direct route to Loretto was by way 
of Bologna, but, by the Duke's orders, they made a 
detour to avoid that town, the reason being that the 
Marchesa Levisani had retired thither after her disgrace ; 
and the amiable old gentleman did not wish to give his 
daughter-in-law the satisfaction of seeing again her 
former favourite. 

The Prince of Modena had come to Loretto from the 
most conscientious motives ; but the princess had con- 
sented to make the pilgrimage for a very different reason, 
seeing in it the means of realizing her cherished project of 
returning to France. Hardly had she reached Loretto, 
than she proposed to her husband that they should fly to 
Paris, and implore the protection of her father against the 
persecution to which they were both being subjected 
by the Duke of Modena. The feeble prince, disappointed 
perhaps at not receiving any immediate answer to his 
prayers, does not appear to have opposed the least 
resistance to this astonishing proposition ; and on April 1 
— significant date ! — they started for Ancona, whence 
they intended to gain Verona and make their way through 
Germany into France. 

The unfortunate Colibeaux had employed every 
imaginable argument to persuade the princess to 
renounce her resolution, but the only concession he 
was able to obtain was a promise to consult Cha- 
vigny before proceeding beyond Ancona. From that 
town, where they arrived on the 2nd, her Highness 
addressed a long epistle to Chavigny, who had just 
returned to Modena with fresh instructions from the 
Regent, in which she enclosed letters from herself and 
her husband to the Duke, demanding his permission to 


make the journey to France, which appears a little 
superfluous, since they had already taken French leave, 
and begging him to persuade the old autocrat " to listen 
to reason," and " not to oblige them to perform a comedy 
before the universe." 1 

The princess also despatched the following letter for 
Chavigny to forward to her father : 

" I do not write to you except in trepidation, fearing 
that the first step that we have been obliged to take may 
be displeasing to you. . . . The Prince of Modena and 
myself have been unable to find any other means of 
remed3ang the present situation, save by entreating you 
to permit us to come and render an account of it to you, 
being fully resolved, as soon as you are fully acquainted 
with the condition in which we find ourselves, to obey 
you blindly. 

"... We have been obliged to make use of the pretext 
of a journey to Loretto to extricate ourselves from the 
situation. . . . Chavigny hastened as soon as we informed 
him, but we could not do more for him than await 
at Verona the return of his courier, bearer of our 

" Permit me, in my private capacity, to recall to your 
mind the kindness with which you have always flattered 
me, and the respectful and tender affection which I have 
always entertained for you. . . . The misfortune which 
would touch me the most would be to see that you have 
already forgotten the promise that you made me when 

1 Colibeaux also wrote to Chavigny to assure him of his entire 
innocence of any complicity in this escapade : " They have kept the 
secret so carefully from me," he writes, " that I have left all my clothes 
at Modena, with the exception of a miserable portmanteau ... I am 
in despair." 


we parted that you would be pleased to see me again and 
to love me always, and to know that I should be pre- 
cipitated into innumerable misfortunes by you, for whom 
I have an affection which I cannot find sufficiently strong 
terms to express." 

Chavigny despatched a courier in all haste to Paris 
and persuaded the fugitives to await the answer of the 
Regent. That prince was terribly alarmed by the news, 
for the Princess of Modena could not possibly have chosen 
a more inopportune moment for her escapade. Philippe 
d'Orleans was just then negotiating the marriages of 
two of his other daughters, Mile, de Montpensier and 
Mile, de Beaujolais, with the Infant Don Luis, heir to the 
crown of Spain and that prince's half-brother, Don 
Carlos, and he feared with reason the effect of such a 
scandal upon the austere Court of the Escurial. He 
wrote immediately to the princess, pointing out to 
her the danger of embroiling Francesco d'Este with his 
father, and entreating her " to suspend her journey until 
he should be more amply informed " ; and, at the same 
time, addressed a letter to his son-in-law, blaming him 
severely for having undertaken this journey without con- 
sulting him, and forbidding him to proceed any farther. 
Then he sent for the Abbe Philibert, a shrewd and re- 
sourceful ecclesiastic, who enjoyed the friendship of his 
daughter and might be expected to have some influence 
with her, and despatched him to intercept the fugitive 
couple and endeavour to persuade them to return to 
Modena. He was accompanied by a M. Masselot, a 
relative of a favourite waiting-woman of the Princess of 
Modena who had followed her to Italy, with instructions 
to travel together as far as Augsburg, and there to 


separate and take each one of the two roads by which the 
princess and her husband might come from Italy. 

Meanwhile, the fugitive couple had reached Verona, 
whence the princess, without waiting for the paternal 
reply, wrote again to the Regent, informing him that the 
Duke of Modena had returned her letter unopened and 
had given orders to arrest the couriers who might bring 
any others, and declaring that she and her husband were 
firmly resolved not to return, since there was every 
appearance that to do so would mean unhappiness for the 
rest of their natural lives. On April 21 came the 
Regent's answer to her letter of the 2nd, to which she 
replied, the same day, in the following terms : 

" I cannot express to you, my dear papa, the grief that 
I feel on learning, through M. de Chavigny, that you do not 
accord me the favour that we have demanded of you, 
upon which our happiness was depending. It cannot be 
equalled save by the despair in which I am at the thought 
that the first step which our unhappy situation obliges 
us to take has displeased you. I would that I could give 
my life to do something which was agreeable to you, and 
I am unhappy enough to be able to fear that you may 
be angered against me. If you could know the reason 
for our action, I should hope that you would be no longer 
annoyed with us for having addressed ourselves to you 
as our only refuge." 1 

The princess and her husband appear to have passed a 
very pleasant time at Verona, where they lived incognito, 
although they did not refuse the honours that were 
offered them. They declared that they were more 
determined than ever not to return to Modena, although 

1 Letter of April 21, 1721, published by Barthelemy. 


the prince was becoming seriously uneasy at the attitude 
of his father, who was reported to be bitterly incensed 
against them, and had even suspended the postal service 
between Modena and Verona, in order to cut off all 
communication between them and their friends in the 

On May n, the Abbe Philibert arrived at Verona. Not 
having the same reasons as Colibeaux for allowing himself 
to be deceived, he quickly penetrated the designs of the 
princess, and proceeded to represent to her the impossi- 
bility of the Regent permitting her to execute them. The 
lady at first refused to listen to reason, flew into a 
violent passion, and declared her unalterable resolution 
to terminate a marriage which appeared to her " like 
a perpetual prison." But, recognising at length that 
Philippe d'Orleans, for the present at any rate, was deter- 
mined not to afford her the least encouragement, she 
passed from anger to despair, and, snatching up a pen, 
addressed to him a piteous letter, which concluded 
thus : 

" By all that is most dear to you, I conjure you, my dear 
papa, not to abandon me in my sad situation. I am the 
most unhappy creature in the world ; on which ever side 
I turn I see nothing but grief and despair ; my only 
resource is in your kindness. ... I shall not renounce the 
hope of seeing you again ; you would not wish it yourself, 
my dear papa. I shall return to Italy, not without grief, 
but with a reasonable grief." 

It proved, however, to be a far easier matter to persuade 
the princess to return to Modena than to induce the Duke 
to consent to receive her. The fact is that the indignation 
which the old prince had expressed at this escapade, 


which, by the way, had come as no surprise to him, 
had been merely assumed, since it promised to facilitate 
greatly his secret designs. His most ardent desire was 
to see the succession to his throne assured, and, as there 
seemed to be little prospect of his eldest son, who, as we 
have said, he detested, being able to accomplish this, 
he had determined to institute proceedings to set aside 
his rights to the crown, in favour of his younger brother, 
Prince Frederico. Thus, Charlotte d'Orleans, by running 
away with her unfortunate husband and prejudicing his 
case in the eyes of the public, had constituted herself the 
involuntary ally of the Duke. 

For some days the Duke, egged on by Salvatico, 
opposed a stubborn resistance to the demands of Chavigny 
that he should receive his errant daughter-in-law, and it 
was only when the Frenchman had threatened him with 
the resentment of the Regent that he finally yielded. 
On May 28, the princess arrived at Modena. She came 
alone, for the prince, not daring to present himself before 
his father until the latter's indignation should have had 
time to subside, had remained at Venice, whither he 
and his wife had proceeded from Verona. 

The reception accorded her was mortifying to the last 
degree. No one came to meet her ; no one received her 
either in the courts or on the staircase of the palace, 
and she had to make her way alone to the Duke's cabinet. 
The old gentleman greeted her with the usual empty 
compliments, and immediately escorted her to her 
apartments, whence he sent to summon the three prin- 
cesses, and, the moment they appeared, took his departure. 
Salvatico, on his side, lost not a moment in resuming his 
persecution. He persuaded the Duke to forbid the ladies 


of the Court to visit the princess— a prohibition which was 
presently extended to all the French members of her 
Household ; and he caused the door of communication 
between her apartments and those of her sisters-in-law 
to be walled up, which practically precluded all private 
intercourse between them. In short, the poor lady 
found herself almost completely isolated. 

The Abbe" Philibert, who had accompanied the princess 
to Modena, addressed a strong protest to the Duke, 
but the latter ignored it, under the pretext that the abbe 
had no official character. Philibert, much irritated, wrote 
to the Regent that the sojourn of his daughter at Modena 
was " no longer possible or supportable," and appealed to 
Chavigny, who demanded the dismissal of Salvatico, 
which was, of course, refused. That personage, profiting 
by the continued absence of the Prince of Modena, who, 
being still afraid to face his father, had accepted an 
invitation to visit the Elector of Bavaria at Munich, was 
evidently determined to render the princess's position 
intolerable, in order to drive her to create a new scandal ; 
and Chavigny and Philibert were in despair. The former 
wrote indignant despatches to Paris, representing the 
Duke of Modena as a cruel tyrant, whose persecutions had 
driven his family and his subjects to such an extremity of 
despair that they excited the compassion of all honest 
men ; while the latter wrote to the prince entreating him 
to return. This the latter at length consented to do, and, 
thanks doubtless to his discretion in selecting July 2, 
which happened to be his birthday, for his appearance 
upon the scene, was received " with moderation and few 
words." He found himself treated, however, with almost 
as much severity as his wife, and none of the courtiers was 


permitted to pay his respects to him, unless accompanied 
by Salvatico. 

The ridiculous and humiliating situation of the princess 
continued for several weeks, notwithstanding the protests 
of Philibert and Chavigny. " Monseigneur [the Regent] 
did not reckon when he gave his daughter in marriage 
that she would be rendered unhappy," said Philibert to 
the duke one day. " There is nothing that I do not do in 
order to please her, and I do not believe that I fail in 
anything," was the reply. It was clearly impossible to 
argue with such a person. 

At length, towards the end of July, the young couple 
received permission to pay a visit to the baths of Lucca. 
The princess immediately began making preparations 
which indicated clearly that she hoped never to return. 
Colibeaux lost no time in warning the Regent, and de- 
manded that the prince should write severely to his 
daughter on the subject. The same courier carried a 
letter from the princess to her father, declaring that 
it was impossible for her to endure any longer the tyranny 
of the Duke of Modena, " without drawing upon herself 
the contempt of all Italy," and entreating him to give 
her and her husband an asylum in some town in France, as 
far removed from Paris as he might please. To this the 
Regent naturally refused to consent ; nevertheless, the 
princess prolonged her stay at Lucca, in the hope that he 
might relent. 

Her hopes, however, were vain, for not only did the 
Regent absolutely refuse to sanction his daughter's 
return to France, but he subsequently caused her 
to be informed that, until she had abandoned any 
such intention, he should not attempt to interfere 


between her and her father-in-law in order to procure a 
relaxation of the severity with which she was treated. 

This news reached the princess at Rome, whither she 
and her husband had come to spend a month incognito. 
She was at first greatly distressed, but soon, recognising 
that her father was really in earnest, she became more 
resigned ; and Philippe d'Orl^ans, on being acquainted 
with this, addressed a strong letter to the Duke of Modena, 
in which he declared he should regard the treatment 
which the prince and princess received from him as a 
personal matter. 

Towards the end of December, the young people re- 
turned to Modena, and shortly afterwards took up their 
residence at a country-house belonging to the prince near 
Reggio, where it had been decided that they should 
henceforth pass the greater part of their time. This 
arrangement had been made at the instance of the Regent, 
who perceived in it a means of securing reasonable liberty 
to his daughter and avoiding the inevitable friction with 
the Duke which her presence at Modena would entail. 
Singularly enough, however, neither the prince nor the 
princess seem to have been at all enamoured of the 
prospect ; and the intervention of the Cardinal de Rohan, 
the French Ambassador at the Vatican, was required to 
induce them to consent. Presumably, they were of opinion 
that, with all its inconveniences, residence at the Court 
of Modena was preferable to the ennui of existence in the 

At the beginning of the following autumn, a rumour 
was current in Paris that the Due de Richelieu had 
contracted a secret marriage with Mile, de Charolais. 
The princess did not fail to be informed of this report, 


which caused the poor lady, in whose breast the passion 
which the duke had inspired w T as far from extinguished, 
unspeakable distress. " The 17th," writes Madame Piche 
to the Regent, " the Abbe" Colibeaux announced to her 
the marriage of the Due de Richelieu with Mile, de C. 
[Charolais]. This was for her a veritable thunderbolt, 
and caused her to weep all day. The husband and all 
the family knew not what to make of it. A week later, 
the Marselot [Madame Marselot] received a letter from 
her sister, who informed her of the marriage of the said 
duke. She had the imprudence to speak of it. This is 
for her an additional grief, but she did not dare to weep, 
which made her very ill." 

There was no truth in this report, but it does not appear 
to have been contradicted for some time, or, at any rate, 
the denial was very slow in reaching Italy. Consequently, 
it exercised a great influence upon the princess, who had 
evidently been maintaining a correspondence with 
Richelieu, and had cherished the illusion that she was 
still very near to his heart. 1 Now that she believed that 

1 Soulavie affirms that, some months after the princess's marriage, 
Richelieu followed his expatriated inamorata to Modena, disguised as 
a hawker of books, and that, in this character, he succeeded on several 
occasions in gaining access to her apartments in the palace, when " he 
hastened to make her forget her sorrow and her misfortunes." He also 
describes a very piquant interview between the duke and the lady's 
husband, who, returning sooner than was expected from the chase, had 
nearly surprised the pair at an exceedingly inopportune moment, but 
without conceiving any suspicion. 

The only evidence in support of this story, which has found its way 
into the works of several modern writers with a weakness for the pictu- 
resque, is a somewhat obscure passage in a letter of Colibeaux, dated 
December 26, 1720 — that is to say, just about the time the chronicler 
places the adventure in question : 

" The sieur Rati [Rafe] has arrived here, with a gardener. We might 
very well have dispensed with both of them." Now, the sieur Rafe 
was Richelieu's confidential valet de chambre, and it may be argued 
that wherever he happened to be, his master was not likely to be far 


he had abandoned her definitely for her rival, the prin- 
cipal motive which had urged her to return to France 
was removed, and she became more reconciled to her lot. 
It would appear, also, that she had begun to fear that, 
if she continued to keep her husband at a distance, the 
affair might terminate " d Vitalienne " ; and these 
apprehensions were artfully stimulated by Colibeaux, 
although he was aware that they were perfectly ground- 
less, in the hope that they might lead to the solution so 
much desired. He was not disappointed. In the spring 
of 1723, the princess was announced to be enceinte ; and 
on November 18 she gave birth to a son, who, writes 
Colibeaux, " appeared to me to be beautiful and healthy." 

off ; indeed, he may have been " the gardener." But, though it is 
quite possible that Richelieu did undertake a journey to Modena, since 
amorous adventures in which difficulties had to be overcome always 
made a peculiar appeal to him, it is, when we pause to consider the 
rigorous surveillance to which the princess was subjected by her father- 
in-law and Salvatico, highly improbable that he succeeded in obtaining 
the lengthy private audiences which Soulavie describes. 


Mile. d'Orl£ans as Abbess of Chelles — Improvements which she executes 
at the convent — She constitutes herself the official protectress of 
the Jansenists — Efforts of the Regent to induce her to renounce 
her heterodox views — He exiles Pere Ledoux, almoner of Chelles — 
The abbess retaliates by driving away Madame de Fretteville, who 
has been won over by the Jesuits — Extraordinary conduct of the 
princess, who transforms her abbey from a monastic retreat into a 
kind of country-house and leads with her nuns a life of pleasure — 
Calumnies — Sudden reformation of the abbess, who passes from 
dissipation to austerity — She leaves Chelles, and, though still re- 
taining her title of abbess, becomes temporary superior of the Abbey 
of the Val-de-Grace — Brief return to worldliness, followed by in- 
creased austerity — She seeks to convert the Regent, and reprimands 
him severely for the scandalous manner in which he distributes the 
ecclesiastical patronage of the Crown. 

WE left Louise Adelaide d'Orleans duly installed as 
Abbess of Chelles, in the room of poor Madame 
de Villars, whom she had succeeded in ousting from the 
office which she had held for more than ten years. The 
young lady appears at first to have taken her role of 
superior of a religious establishment very seriously, and 
she proceeded to reconstruct almost entirely the buildings 
of the convent and to restore the church ; while she 
rendered a still more valuable service to the community 
by assuring its water-supply, the inadequacy of which had 
been the chief disadvantage of this otherwise delightful 
spot, owing to the fact that the spring which supplied the 
town of Chelles was situated on much lower ground than 



the abbey. We read in the Journal de la Regence of 
Buvat : 

" The 22 May, Pere Sebastien, 1 Carmelite monk of the 
convent of the Place Maubert, native of Lyons, repaired 
to the town of Chelles, and, as this monk has a superior 
genius for the sciences, and particularly for those which 
depend upon mathematics, having examined the ground 
about the town and the situation of the abbey, he deter- 
mined to have a machine constructed, by means of which 
this abbey will have the necessary supply of water, 
with a reservoir in the interior of the convent contain- 
ing more than two hundred hogsheads, for its daily 
necessities and in the event of fire. This will henceforth 
exempt the abbey from keeping a waggon with a man 
and a horse, as it did formerly for more than eleven 
hundred years, to bring it the water which it re- 

Buvat adds that Mile. d'Orleans had caused the follow- 
ing inscription to be engraved on a slab of black marble 
placed above the fountain of Chelles, " to serve as a 
perpetual monument to the glory of this illustrious 
princess " : 

" Quae per prata humilis Bathildis 2 lympha fluebat 
Huic dedit Adelais unda superba fluat." 

And that, not satisfied with this, the abbess had put 
up a bronze plaque, thus inscribed : 

1 Jean Truchet, called Pere Sebastien, born in 1657, died in J 7 X 9- 
He was celebrated throughout France for his knowledge of mechanics 
and hydraulics. His best known invention was a contrivance called 
" le diable," whereby the largest trees were able to be transplanted 
without injuring them. 

2 Sainte-Bathilde was, as we have mentioned, the real founder of 
the Abbey of Chelles. 


" Fontem exaltari jussit 

Et hunc lapidem posuit 

Ludovica Adelais 


Anno aetatis suae 


Mense novembri anni 1719 


Ludovico XV 


Philippo Aurelianensi duce 

Adelaidis patre." 

The improvement of her convent was not the only 
direction in which the princess found scope for her 
activity. It will be remembered that Madame de Villars 
had been a rigid Molinist, while her youthful successor 
had embraced the doctrines of Jansenius, which were 
held by Pere Ledoux, the almoner of the convent, and 
the great majority of the nuns who had supported her 
against the late abbess ; and scarcely had she returned 
to Chelles, than she plunged into the controversy which 
divided the Gallican Church with the ardour which she 
brought to everything which she undertook, and showed 
her intention of constituting herself the official pro- 
tectress of the Jansenists. In April 1720, supported by 
the Cardinal de Noailles, she successfully intervened on 
behalf of certain Benedictine monks who, having appealed 
against the Constitution Unigenitus, had been banished 
by their General to distant monasteries; and a few 
months later she obtained authorisation from her father 
for this Order to elect as its head the Pere Saint- 
Marthe, a particularly zealous opponent of the " Con- 

The Regent, though he had yielded to his daughter's 




















.— ■ 





/— C 








orq - 

- n 



4 »> ■> » a , ' 

» • 


importunities, was seriously disquieted by the attitude 
which she had adopted, fearing that it might lead to 
differences with the Vatican, very undesirable at this 
juncture. He therefore despatched to Chelles Pere 
Trevoux, who had once been her directear, to reason with 
her and strive to bring her back to the path of orthodoxy. 
The abbess, however, refused to listen to the reverend 
Father, and forbade him even to present himself before 
her. The Regent, much irritated, replied by banishing 
Pere Ledoux, to whose influence this refusal was generally 
ascribed, and charged the Jesuits to undertake the 
conversion of the princess, by any means that might 
commend itself to them. The Jesuits succeeded in 
winning over the prioress, Madame de Fretteville, who, 
it will be remembered, had contributed powerfully to 
develop the taste of Mile. d'Orleans for the religious life 
and to persuade her to take the veil. This lady now 
enjoyed the princess's entire confidence, and took ad- 
vantage of it to represent to her the error of her ways 
and to pursue her with incessant remonstrances. The 
abbess, however, was one of those whose determination 
is only strengthened by opposition, and, ignoring the 
arguments and entreaties of Madame de Fretteville, she 
tormented her father with demands for the recall of 
Pere Ledoux. But the Regent, although, since the death 
of the Duchesse de Berry, he had shown much affection 
for Mile. d'Orleans, remained inflexible ; upon which she 
revenged herself by making matters so unpleasant for 
her former favourite that she was obliged to leave the 

After this, the abbess seems to have decided that she 
had gone far enough in defiance of her father, and, while 


declining to abandon her heterodox views, she, in other 
ways, neglected nothing in order to please him and to 
attract him to Chelles, which he soon fell into the habit 
of visiting at least once a week. With this object, she 
proceeded to give full scope to that taste for worldly 
pursuits which she had carried with her into the cloister, 
and to transform her abbey from a monastic retreat into 
a kind of country-house. The narrow, gloomy cells of 
the nuns gave place to light and airy rooms ; the parlours 
were converted into veritable boudoirs ; the gardens 
lost the somewhat severe aspect which they had main- 
tained for centuries, and beds of gorgeous flowers, sanded 
paths, and delightful arbours appeared everywhere ; 
the latest books, pamphlets, and gazettes were ordered 
from Paris ; fine horses and elegant equipages occupied 
the stables, and the abbess, accompanied by some of the 
more favoured nuns, might frequently be seen riding and 
driving about the neighbourhood ; skilled pyrotechnists 
were installed in the convent to prepare the fireworks 
which constituted one of the principal amusements of the 
reverend Mother ; the religious ceremonies assumed the 
character of musical fetes ; and dramatic representations 
were organised — not the religious tragedies which had 
been performed before Louis XIV. and Madame de Main- 
tenon at Saint-Cyr, but the most passionate of Racine's 
plays, in which the youngest and prettiest of the nuns 
and novices took part. 

The activities of the abbess herself were as manifold 
as those of her father. She worked at embroideries and 
tapestries ; she made wigs for the plays performed at 
Chelles with her own hands ; she practised pistol- 
shooting ; she played and sang ; she studied chemistry, 


physics, and even surgery, and is said to have attained 
some skill in the use of surgical instruments. 

The Regent came frequently to Chelles ; and in his 
wake followed a constant stream of visitors from the gay 
world, eager to assist at the singular spectacle of pious 
recluses declaiming the most amorous sentiments ; to 
enjoy the delightful msiuc, and to partake of the sump- 
tuous repasts which the abbess provided for them ; 
while, on their side, the chansonniers hastened to sharpen 
their pens to describe, or rather to travesty, the life of 
this singular community. 

" De l'abbaye 
Ou reside Venus, 

Nonne jolie, 
Disant peu d'oremus, 
Loin des soins superfius, 
Ne songeant tout au plus 
Q'a bien passer la vie, 

Fait bons les revenus 

De l'abbaye. 

" Du monastere 
L'amoureux directeur 
En 1'art de plaire 
Vient instruire chaque soeur. 
L'amour gagne les coeurs 
Par des attraits trompeurs. 
C'est la regie severe 
Que maintient en vigueur 
Le monastere. 

" Pour tout office 
On goute tous les jours 

Mille delices, 
Q'assaisonne 1' Amour. 


Chaque instant sur le coeur 
II repand ses faveurs. 
A ce dieu si propice 
Elles livrent leurs coeurs 
Pour tout office." 1 

In the midst of these worldly distractions, the abbess 
appears to have preserved the purity of her morals, but 
it must be admitted that she furnished calumny with 
arms ; and, needless to say, calumny did not fail to turn 
them to account. She was accused of filling the place in 
the Regent's affections which had been attributed to the 
Duchesse de Berry ; of practising the vices of ancient 
Greece ; of a gallantry with the Due de Richelieu, who 
was said to have entered the convent in disguise, and of 
a more durable love-affair with her intendant Augeard, 
who was " amiable and young." 2 

Although there was probably not a grain of truth in 
any of these reports, the worldly, agitated life which the 
young lady led was reprehensible enough in all conscience 
for the superior of a monastic community, and con- 
stituted a very grave scandal. Happily, it did not last 
many months ; for it was impossible for this restless, 
impulsive creature to be content with anything for very 
long. " Sometimes austere to excess, sometimes with 
nothing of religion about her save the robe ; musician, 
surgeon, theologian, directrice, and all that by leaps and 
bounds, though accompanied by much intelligence ; 
always fatigued and disgusted by her different situations ; 
incapable of persevering in any of them." Such is the 

1 Recueil Maurepas, cited by Barthelemy. 

2 Duclos, Me"moires secrets. 


portrait which Saint-Simon draws of her ; and soon, by 
a natural reaction, she abandoned this life of pleasure 
for one of excessive piety. Perhaps, the remonstrances 
of her exiled almoner, Pere Ledoux, the only person who 
possessed any real influence over her, contributed to this 
startling transformation ; possibly, it may have been 
partly brought about by chagrin at the futility of her 
efforts to obtain that ascendancy over her father of which 
she had dreamed. Any way, she passed on a sudden from 
dissipation to austerity, and turned with a new ardour 
towards Jansenism. " Her progress in the spiritual life 
was such that she broke one morning, in an access of 
devotion, all her musical instruments, and made of them 
a great fire, which she lighted with her sheets of profane 
music. She gave no more suppers or collations except to 
simple nuns, and meditated upon death to such a degree 
that she decided one evening, at ten o'clock, on rising 
from table, to go and visit her place in the tomb which 
she had had excavated for her. Each of the nuns, torch 
in hand, accompanied her into the church ; they caused 
the vault to be opened and descended. She tried her bed, 
and appeared satisfied with her future habitation." 1 

The public, it is to be feared, was more amused than 
edified by this metamorphosis, with regard to the per- 
manence of which it was not unnaturally somewhat 
sceptical, and the chansonniers did not fail to make merry 
at the expense of the abbess : 

" Que dans vos yeux Jansenius 

Trouve de fortes armes ! 
Que la bulle U nigenitus 

Tient peu contre vos charmes ! 

1 Soulavie, Memoires du due de Richelieu. 


Pour vous plaire, Iris, de bon cceur 

Je me ferais janseniste ; 
Mais ayez pour moi la douceur 

D'une ame moliniste. 

" Je vois l'Amour arme de traits 

Qui vous suit a la trace ; 
De votre air vif, brillant et frais 

La grace est efficace. 
Je soutiendrai ce dogme-la, 

Et ma these est publique, 
Quand on devrait chez Loyola 

M'appeler heretique." 1 

" Iris," however, did not persevere the less in her 
Jansenist zeal, and, exasperated against the chiefs of the 
Jesuit faction, who had persuaded the Regent to exile 
Ledoux, she posed as the protectress of all whom they 
persecuted, and opened to them the gates of Chelles. 

But, in the midst of this return to devotion, a great 
weariness of the career she had chosen came upon her, 
and a report was current that she intended to petition 
the Holy See to relieve her of her vows. " The Abbess 
of Chelles," writes Mathieu Marais, in December 1720, 
" is bored in her abbey, and is coming to pass some 
time at the Val-de-Grace, where she will be nearer the 
Court and expedients to return there, if that be possible." 

There was no truth in the report that Mile. d'Orleans 
desired to renounce the religious life, but she was cer- 
tainly tired of Chelles, where it is not unlikely that she 
was experiencing considerable difficulty in enforcing 
discipline, the bonds of which had been so much relaxed 
that it must have been no easy task to draw them tight 
again. Any way, to the Val-de-Gra.ce she came, and, the 

1 M. Victor du Bled, la Societe franfaise du XVI' sitcle au' ' XX e 
sidcle, Serie 4'. 


office of abbess of that celebrated community being then 
vacant, obtained authorisation from the Regent to occupy 
it temporarily, while retaining her title of Abbess of 
Chelles, the direction of the latter convent being under- 
taken by one of her favourites there, whom she had 
been permitted to nominate in her place. 

The nuns of the Val-de-Grace, a community which 
had always prided themselves on the regularity and 
decorum which prevailed among them, were very far 
from gratified by the arrival of a young lady who had 
already contrived to make herself so notorious ; nor 
were they any the more favourably disposed towards 
their new superior when they saw her resume some of the 
eccentricities which had marked the early months of her 
reign at Chelles, installing herself in an apartment 
separated completely from the common dormitory, 
establishing a most sumptuous table, and ' very fre- 
quently sending very late at night to order pieces of 
pastry from a neighbouring pastry-cook, who brought 
them to the abbey at unseasonable hours." 1 These 
things the good Sisters were compelled to tolerate, but 
they demanded and obtained of Mile. d'Orleans, as a 
special favour, that when her father came to see her, he 
should do so without any suite and enter the convent 
absolutely alone. 

The Regent, in fact, came often to see his daughter, 
whose return to worldliness was of very brief dura- 
tion, and who speedily returned to devotion, ad- 
monished him severely on the wickedness of his ways, 
and endeavoured to persuade him to lead a different life. 
Becoming more fervidly Jansenist than ever, she plunged 

1 Buvat, Journal de la Regence, May 1722. 


with renewed ardour into religious controversy, in which 
she proved herself no mean adversary ; and Mathieu 
Marais cites a letter of hers in response to one fromjFrancois 
de Chamilly, Archbishop of Tours, a partisan of the 
Jesuits, which proves that she wielded a vigorous pen, 
and was capable of dealing some uncommonly shrewd 
blows. She was, too, particularly indignant at the 
scandalous manner in which the Regent disposed of his 
ecclesiastical patronage, bestowing bishoprics and abbeys 
without taking the smallest account of the merits of the 
recipients ; and at the distribution of benefices in 1723, 
in which he showed even more than his usual indifference, 
and promoted several persons notoriously unfit to hold 
any sacred office, she addressed to him a remonstrance 
couched in the strongest possible terms, " which fright- 
ened him," says Saint-Simon, " and which, however, 
he read and reread twice. It was admirable," he con- 
tinues, " both on the choice of the subject and on the 
abuse which he made of it, and threatened him with the 
anger of God, who would chastise him promptly. He was 
sufficiently moved by it to speak of it, and even to allow 
it to be seen ; but I do not know whether he profited by it. 
He had not time to do so." 

A few days later, in fact, Philippe d'OrMans was 
stricken with apoplexy, and expired in the arms of his 
latest favourite, Madame de Phalaris (December 23, 1723). 


Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans, Mile, de Montpensier, fourth daughter of 
the Regent — Negotiations concluded for the marriage of Louis XV . 
to the Infanta, Ana Victoria, and for that of Don Luis, Prince of 
the Asturias, to Mile, de Montpensier — Embassy of Saint-Simon to 
Madrid— Festivities in Paris— Departure of Mile, de Montpensier 
for Spain — Character of this princess — Her portrait by Madame — 
Her journey to the frontier — The exchange of the princesses — 
Meeting with Philip V. and Don Luis at Cogollos — The marriage : 
an ignorant cardinal — Saint- Simon obtains the public " consumma- 
tion " of the marriage — Letter of the Princess of the Asturias to her 
father— Philip V. and Elizabeth Farnese— Influence of the Queen 
over her husband— Their daily life— Severity of Philip V. towards 
transgressors of the moral law — Illness of the princess — Anxieties 
of the King and Queen — Extraordinary behaviour of the princess — 
She obstinately refuses to attend the State ball to be given in her 
honour — Saint-Simon's interview with her — The ball is abandoned 
— Conclusion of Saint-Simon's embassy— Incredible vulgarity of the 
princess at his farewell audience — Improvement in her conduct — 
Affection of Don Luis for her — Abdication of Philip V. 

WHILE the three elder daughters of the Due and 
Duchesse d'Orleans were making so much stir 
in the world, their three younger sisters, Miles, de Mont- 
pensier, de Beaujolais, and de Chartres, born respectively 
in 1709, 1714, and 1716, were still in the schoolroom or 
the nursery. However, in the winter of 1721-22, the 
first of these young ladies, notwithstanding that she had 
scarcely attained her twelfth year, found herself promoted 
to a most exalted position. 

After the fall of Alberoni (November 171 9) and the 
enforced adhesion of Philip V. to the Quadruple Alliance 
(May 1720), the disposition of the Regent and Dubois 
towards Spain underwent a change, and they determined 



to endeavour to convert the rapprochement to which they 
had constrained her into an intimate alliance, and to 
renew by marriages the almost broken relations between 
the two great branches of the House of Bourbon. 

Meanwhile Philip V. had turned his eyes towards the 
Court of Vienna, and in May 1720 he made overtures to 
the Emperor, with the view of marrying Don Luis, 
Prince of the Asturias, to the eldest archduchess, who 
would inherit her father's Flemish and Italian dominions, 
and his second son, the Infant Don Fernando, to the 
second archduchess, heiress of the German and Austrian 
States. These propositions, however, were but coldly 
received by Charles VI., and the negotiations dragged 
slowly on for nearly a year, when the indifference shown 
by the Emperor began to cause his Catholic Majesty 
serious umbrage. It was then that Dubois, who had not 
failed to keep himself informed of these manoeuvres, 
decided to profit by Philip's dissatisfaction to detach 
him altogether from Austria, by offering him at Versailles 
the double marriage which he was seeking at Vienna 
that is to say, a marriage between Louis XV. and the 
King of Spain's only daughter, the Infanta Ana 
Victoria, and another between the Prince of the Asturias 
and the Regent's eldest unmarried daughter, Mile, de 
Montpensier. These alliances were much to be desired 
by the House of Orleans. In the first place, the tender 
age of the Infanta — she was only three years old — meant 
that years must elapse before the birth of a prince in the 
direct line of succession. In the second, since Don Luis 
was reported to resemble his father " as closely as one 
drop of water resembles another," he would probably, 
like Philip V., allow himself to be governed by his wife ; 


and the Due d'Orleans might therefore reckon that, in 
the event of the death of Louis XV., his daughter would 
be able to prevent her husband from disputing the title 
of the Regent or the Due de Chartres to the throne, or 
from aiding his younger brothers to do so. 

The Marquis de Maulevrier, the French Ambassador at 
Madrid, was accordingly instructed to sound the Spanish 
Court on the matter, and, at the same time, to inform 
the King that the French Government was aware of his 
negotiations with Vienna. Philip V. did not hesitate to 
admit them, saying that he had believed that they might 
conduce to the advantage of his family. He added that 
he did not refuse the propositions which had been made 
to him ; that he was much touched by them, and that in 
a little while he would show the attachment that he bore 
the land of his birth. 

His Majesty was, indeed, highly pleased at the prospect 
of giving an infanta to Louis XV. ; while the Queen, 
Elizabeth Farnese, the " Termagant of Spain," 1 was 
equally gratified at the idea of seeing the crown matri- 
monial of France upon her daughter's head. As for the 
proposal that the Prince of the Asturias should marry Mile, 
de Montpensier, this, as binding the two countries still 
closer together and assuring to the King and Queen the 
goodwill of the Due d'Orleans, was scarcely less welcome. 
Early in July, Pere Daubenton, Philip V.'s confessor, 
who had warmly supported Dubois in this matter, 
informed Maulevrier that since the end of March nego- 
tiations with the Emperor had entirely ceased, and that 
his Catholic Majesty was more and more resolved to live 
on terms of close friendship with the Due d'Orleans. 

1 Carlylc, Frederick the Great. 


This intelligence was presently confirmed by the King 
himself, and, finally, on the 26th, the Prime Minister, 
Grimaldo, visited the French Ambassador to demand, 
in his master's name, the hand of Mile, de Montpensier 
for the Prince of the Asturias, and to propose the marriage 
of the Infanta with Louis XV. 

The same day, Maulevrier sent off a courier to Paris, 
with despatches which were naturally received with the 
liveliest satisfaction by the Regent and Dubois, but with 
much less pleasure by the eleven-year-old King, who 
wept at the idea of taking to wife a child of three. How- 
ever, his preceptor, Fleury, the future cardinal, eventually 
succeeded in obtaining from him a reluctant consent. 

The preliminaries were soon concluded. It was decided 
that the Infanta should be sent to France, to be brought 
up there until she should reach a marriageable age ; the 
marriage of the Prince of the Asturias and Mile, de Mont- 
pensier was, however, to take place as soon as the latter 
arrived in Spain. Louis XV. promised Mile, de Mont- 
pensier a dowry of 500,000 ecus ; the Regent one of 40,000, 
partly in specie and partly in jewels ; and Philip V. was 
to provide his daughter-in-law with jewels to the value 
of 50,000 6cus. The announcement of the latter alliance, 
Saint-Simon tells us, produced the utmost consternation 
among the cabal opposed to the Regent, which had 
always sought on the other side of the Pyrenees for the 
means of compassing his overthrow, and had fondly 
imagined the enmity between him and Philip V. to be 
altogether irreconcilable. " Men, women, people of all 
conditions, who belonged to that cabal lost all counten- 
ance. It was a pleasure to me, I admit it, to look upon. 
They were utterly disconcerted." 


On October 23, Saint-Simon, in the character of Am- 
bassador Extraordinary, set out for Madrid, to make 
the formal demand for the hand of the Infanta. The 
duke had been invested by the Regent with this mission 
at his own request, greatly to the annoyance of Dubois, 
who hated him, and who, Saint-Simon assures us, did 
his best to ruin him, by insisting that he should be 
accompanied by a suite out of all proportion to that 
which the occasion demanded and dressed with un- 
paralleled magnificence. 

A week later, the Duque de Ossuna arrived from 
Madrid on a similar mission, and signalised his arrival 
by giving a succession of splendid fetes and displays 
of fireworks, which appear to have greatly delighted 
the Parisians. On November 13, he formally demanded 
of the King the hand of Mile, de Montpensier, and 
on the 15th the marriage-contract was signed at the 
Tuileries, with great ceremony, after which Louis XV. 
proceeded to the Palais-Royal to compliment his cousin. 
On the 1 6th, there was a ball at the Opera and a grand 
fete at the Palais-Royal, " which was illuminated outside 
as well as in, and at which there was a superb collation 
of fruits and sweetmeats, and so great a profusion of 
liquors that in the morning they threw what remained 
out of the window in buckets. The cost amounted to 
840,000 livres." 1 On the morrow, Mile, de Montpensier 
received the Marechal de Villeroi, Louis XV. 's gouverneur, 
who came to bid her adieu in the name of his Majesty, 
the Ambassadors, and the Provost of the Merchants and 
the sheriffs, who presented her, on behalf of the town, 
with six baskets covered with white taffeta, containing 

1 Buvat. 


tapers, candles, and dried fruits. The baskets were carried 
by six archers, who received from the princess twenty 
louis for their trouble. A like present was offered to the 
Duque de Ossuna, who gave the archers twelve louis. 

These ceremonies concluded, Mile, de Montpensier 
entered her carriage, with her father and brother, her 
gouvernante the Comtesse de Cheverny, the Duchesse de 
Ventadour, and the Princesse de Soubise, who had been 
appointed gouvernante to the Infanta, and set out for 
Spain. She was followed by a most imposing suite, 
which was to serve the double purpose of accompanying 
her to the Spanish frontier and the Infanta from Bayonne 
to Paris. The escort consisted of one hundred and fifty 
gendarmes, whom the Prince de Rohan-Soubise, selected 
to receive the Infanta, had equipped superbly at his own 
expense, and a detachment of eight Gardes du Corps. The 
Regent and the Due de Chartres left her at Bourg-la- 
Reine and returned to Paris, and the princess continued 
her journey to Arpajon, where she was to pass the night, 
and where some impudent thieves profited by the care- 
lessness of the escort to carry off several trunks from the 
waggons and nearly a dozen pieces of silver plate. 

Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans, Mile, de Montpensier, the 
young princess who thus suddenly found herself thrust 
into such prominence, was born on December n, 1709, 
and had therefore not yet completed her twelfth year. 
Much as her elder sisters had suffered from the deplorable 
indifference of their parents during their early years, 
she had suffered still more; indeed, her education was 
utterly neglected. Before she was seven years old, she 
was withdrawn from the Benedictine convent of Saint- 
Paul, near Beauvais, where she might at least have 

Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans (Mi. i.e. de Montpensier), 
Princess of the Asturias, afterwards Queen of Spain 

From the painting by Juan Rank, in the Museum of the Prado 

c « 



learned something, and thenceforth appears to have 
received scarcely any instruction at all, scholastic, moral, 
or religious ; not even ordinary good manners ; and, 
since she lacked the intelligence which might have 
counterbalanced to some degree the effects of this 
criminal neglect, she had developed into one of the most 
ignorant, disagreeable, and worst-behaved little girls 
possible to conceive. Here is the portrait which her 
grandmother has left us of her : 

" I cannot say that Mile, de Montpensier is ugly ; she 
has fine eyes, a delicate white skin, a well-formed nose, 
although a trifle thin, and a very small mouth. With all 
that, she is the most disagreeable person that I have 
ever seen in my life. In all her actions, whether she is 
speaking, eating, or drinking, she is insupportable. She 
did not shed a tear on leaving us, and hardly bade us 

Such was the princess whom the chances of politics 
were about to throw into the midst of the most austere 
and punctilious Court in Europe. 

It had been arranged that Mile, de Montpensier's jour- 
ney should occupy a month, such being the time which it 
was calculated the Infanta would require to reach the 
frontier. But the Spaniards travelled in such leisurely 
fashion that the time allotted the French cortege had to 
be considerably extended, and the princess was able 
to spend three days at both Poitiers and Bordeaux, at 
which latter city she met with a magnificent reception. 
At Bayonne, she visited Maria Anna of Neuburg, the 
widow of Charles II. of Spain, who received her with 
great kindness, made her sit in an arm-chair similar to her 
own, and gave her several costly presents : a very valuable 


diamond, a watch, a snuff-box encrusted with diamonds, 
and a commode filled with Chinese porcelain. Finally, 
on January 9, 1722, she reached the northern bank of 
the Bidassoa, facing the lie des Faisans, at the same 
time as the Infanta, who was in charge of the Marques 
de Santa-Cruz, major-domo of the Queen's Household, 
and her camerara mayor, the Duquessa de Montellano, 
appeared on the farther shore. 

At midday on the morrow, the exchange of princesses 
was carried out with great ceremony. 


In the middle of the lie des Faisans, the northern por- 
tion of which was French territory, and the southern 
Spanish, a wooden pavilion, handsomely furnished, had 
been erected, consisting of two apartments, one on the 
side of France, the other on that of Spain, separated by 
a salon, in which the exchange was to take place. A 
bridge of boats connected the two banks with the island. 
The river was covered with boats, gay with flags and 
crowded with people. 

The Prince de Rohan gave his hand to Mile, de Mont- 
pensier as she alighted from her carriage, and conducted 
her to her apartment. At the same moment, the little 
Infanta, escorted by the Marques de Santa-Cruz, entered 
hers. After the princesses had rested awhile, they entered 
the salon, and took their places on opposite sides of a 
table placed in the middle of the room. The Prince de 
Rohan was on Mile, de Montpensier's right ; the Duchesse 
de Ventadour and the Princesse de Soubise on her left. 
The Marques de Santa-Cruz and the Duquesa de Mon- 
tellano occupied similar positions next the Infanta. 

The various documents connected with the exchange 
having been examined and approved on the previous 


evening, it was not judged necessary to read them in 
their entirety. They were therefore merely summarized, 
and then presented and signed. The Prince de Rohan 
made a complimentary speech, thanking the Spaniards, 
in the name of Louis XV., for the care which they had 
taken of the precious person of the Infanta ; to which 
the Marques de Santa-Cruz replied. The princesses em- 
braced and were reconducted to their apartments, and, 
after presents had been distributed, they left the island 
and resumed their respective journeys, Mile, de Mont- 
pensier being now accompanied only by Spaniards, with 
the exception of her gouvernante Madame de Cheverny, 
who, however, was to leave her at Lerma, where their 
Catholic Majesties and her fiance were awaiting her. 

The Infanta had occupied thirty-five days to traverse 
the distance between Lerma and the Bidassoa, but, in 
obedience to the repeated orders of Philip V., who was 
impatient to behold his future daughter-in-law, the 
Marques de Santa-Cruz used such expedition that it 
was now accomplished in ten ; and on January 19 the 
French princess arrived at Cogollos, four leagues from 

The King immediately sent the Duque del Arco, his 
grand equerry, to compliment the princess in his name. 
He himself and the Prince of the Asturias followed in the 
duke's suite, in an ordinary carriage. On reaching 
Cogollos, Del Arco, having warned Mile, de Montpensier's 
attendants not to betray the incognito of the illustrious 
travellers, addressed to the young lady a long harangue, 
in order to enable the King and the prince to study her 
at their leisure. Then he demanded permission to present 
to her Highness two gentlemen of his suite, who were 


extremely anxious to pay their respects to her ; and 
Philip V. and his son stepped forward to salute her, 
when one of the princess's ladies " spoiled the mystery," 
by uttering an exclamation of astonishment. Made- 
moiselle de Montpensier thereupon " threw herself upon 
the hands of the newcomers to kiss them, and was 
immediately embraced by them." The King and Don 
Luis then entered the princess's carriage, and the cortege 
set out for Lerma, where, after the princess had been 
presented to Elizabeth Farnese, the marriage was cele- 

It was productive of an incident which proved too 
much for even the gravity of the solemn Spanish Court. 
The Cardinal Borgia, whose duty it was to pronounce the 
nuptial benediction, happened to be quite ignorant of the 
ceremonial, and was, in consequence, terribly alarmed 
when informed that the marriage was to take place 
forthwith. Saint-Simon, who entered the chapel some 
little time before the arrival of the Court, found his 
Eminence near the altar, diligently studying his lesson 
between two of his chaplains, who held the book open in 
front of him. " The worthy prelate," he writes, " did 
not know how to read ; he tried, however, and read aloud, 
but incorrectly. The chaplains corrected him ; he 
scolded them ; recommenced ; was again corrected ; 
again grew angry, and to such a degree that he turned 
round upon them and shook them by their surplices. 
I laughed as much as I pleased ; for he perceived nothing, 
so occupied and entangled was he with his lesson." 

In the midst of this little comedy, the King and Queen, 
with the bridal pair and all the Court, arrived at the 
door of the chapel, where, according to Spanish custom, 


the service began. " Let them wait," exclaimed the 
angry cardinal, when informed of their Majesties' ar- 
rival ; " I am not ready." And wait they accordingly 
did, while his Eminence continued his lesson, " redder 
than his hat and still furious. At last, he went to the 
door, at which a ceremony took place which lasted some 
time. Had I not been obliged to remain at my post, 
curiosity would have prompted me to follow him. That 
I lost some amusement is certain, for I saw the King and 
Queen laughing and looking at their prie-Dieu, and all 
the Court laughing also. . . . The poor cardinal caused 
more and more amusement while continuing the cere- 
mony, during which he neither knew where he was nor 
what he was doing, being interrupted and corrected 
every moment by his chaplains, and fuming so that 
neither the King nor the Queen could contain themselves. 
It was the same with everybody else who witnessed the 

In the evening, there was a grand ball, at the conclusion 
of which their Majesties and the whole Court conducted 
the young couple to their chamber and saw them into 

This public coucher of royal persons, though practised 
in almost every European Court, and continued in France 
even after the Restoration, 1 was entirely contrary to 
Spanish custom, a fact which Saint-Simon attributes to 
" the gravity and modesty of the Spaniards." But, as, 
owing to the tender age of the princess, it had been 
decided that she should not live with her husband for at 
least two years, and, from the political point of view, 

1 See the author's A Princess of Adventure (London, Methuen ; New 
York, Scribner, 191 1), p. 60. 



the Ambassador was not without uneasiness as to the 
solidity of " a marriage which should not be followed 
by, at any rate, a presumed consummation," he had 
demanded of the King, notwithstanding that he had re- 
ceived no instructions from his Court on the matter, a 
ceremony similar to that of which Philip V. had himself 
been a witness at the marriage of the Due and Duch- 
esse de Bourgogne in 1697. 1 Their Catholic Majesties, 
he tells us, permitted him to speak without saying a 
word, and then looked at one another with question- 
ing eyes. Thereupon Saint-Simon addressed to them a 
second and more eloquent harangue, and, after con- 
sulting together in a low voice, they eventually gave a 
reluctant consent. 

The ceremony was carried out under the supervision 
of Saint-Simon himself, who declares that everything 
passed off exactly as he desired, that is to say, the whole 
crowd of courtiers was admitted to see the two chil- 
dren who had just been married lying in a state bed, 
and to bear witness that the curtains had been closed 
upon them in the presence of all. 2 Immediately after 
the departure of the Court, the prince rose and was 
conducted to his own apartments. Lemontey assures 
us that, when he was ordered to retire, he began to weep 
bitterly. 3 The same night, the Chevalier de Peze, an 
officer in the cavalry regiment of Saint-Simon, was 
despatched to Versailles, to announce the " consumma- 

1 See the author's A Rose of Savoy (London, Methuen ; New York, 
Scribner, 1909), p. 199. 

2 Saint-Simon assures us that when it was known that there was 
to be a public coucher, " there appeared only surprise ; no one was 
displeased." But, according to Baudrillart (Philippe V. et la cour de 
France), the Spanish nobles were " profoundly shocked." 

3 Histoire de la Regence. 


tion " of the marriage, for which service he was rewarded 
by a gratification of fifteen thousand livres. 

On the morrow, the new Princess of the Asturias ad- 
dressed to her father the following letter, which we tran- 
scribe in the original, in order that the reader may be 
able to judge, by its style and orthography, the kind of 
instruction which the young lady had received. It covers 
four pages of unformed characters : 

" Mon chere papa, avant jere le roy la reine et le prince 
me vinre voire je netoit pas encore ariver ici le lendemein 
gi arriveret je fut marie le meme jour cepandant Hi a eu 
aujonrdhuit encore des ceremonie a faire le rot et la reine 
me traite fort bien pour le prince vous en aves ace out dire 
je suis avec un tres profond respec voire tres heumble et tres 
obisante file Louise Elisabeth." 1 

The Court of Spain, where ignorance was so general 
that it might almost be said to be the mode, and learning 
regarded with suspicion, was hardly the place in which 
one might expect the defects in the young princess's 
education to be corrected ; while its dreary, ceremonious 
existence must have seemed absolutely intolerable to this 
wayward child, fresh from the gaiety and freedom of the 

Philip V. was a taciturn, melancholy, austere prince, 
a recluse and a devotee by taste and habits, disliking 
society and caring for no pleasure save shooting. Thanks 
to the pains which had been expended upon his education 
in his youth by the celebrated Fenelon, he was well- 
read and intelligent, and his sentiments were just and 

1 Published by Lemontey, les Filles du Regent, Revue retrospective, 
Serie I., torn. i. 


honourable. But his character was feeble in the extreme. 
" He was born to be governed," says Lemontey, " and 
he was so all his life." He had been governed by his 
first wife, Maria Luisa of Savoy, aided by the counsels 
of the Princesse des Ursins, and he was governed still 
more effectively by his present consort, of whom, indeed, 
he had become merely the reflection. 

When, on the day of the late Queen's funeral, Alberoni 
suggested to Madame des Ursins that they should re- 
commend the bereaved monarch to console himself with 
Elizabeth Farnese— " a good-natured Lombard girl, fat- 
tened on butter and Parmesan cheese," as the Minister 
rather coarsely described her — and Madame des Ursins, in 
a fatal moment for herself, consented, they assured the 
fortune of one of the cleverest and most ambitious women 
of her time. Elizabeth was not pretty, in fact, her 
features were almost ugly ; but she possessed a beautiful, 
if rather opulent figure, shapely white shoulders, hands 
and arms, a pleasant voice, and a delicious smile, which 
made people forget the plainness of her face. Before she 
had been a month in Spain — having contrived, by an 
audacious coup de main, to get rid of Madame des Ursins 
en route — she dominated the feeble Philip entirely; 
though she neglected nothing to please him, and, by 
subordinating her own inclinations to his in matters of 
slight importance, prevented him from realising the 
extent to which his other actions were guided by 

Perceiving that, if she would govern Spain, she must 
have the King continually under her eye, she encouraged 
his uxorious proclivities and his taste for seclusion, with 
the result that they passed their time in an eternal 


tete-d-tete, and led a life of almost tragic monotony. The 
King and Queen never occupied a separate bedchamber 
or a separate bed. No night was ever spent apart, and 
from the moment when Philip was roused in the morning 
to partake of that weird concoction of " broth, milk, 
wine, yolk of egg, sugar, cinnamon and cloves," which 
Saint-Simon has described, to that in which they returned 
to the nuptial couch — it was a four-poster, scarcely four 
feet wide, and, according to the Spanish custom, very 
low — he would scarcely allow her out of his sight, except 
on the days when the Queen confessed ; and even then, 
if her confession happened to last longer than usual, his 
Majesty would open the door and call her. 

In this way, not only was Elizabeth enabled to sound 
her husband thoroughly, to know him by heart, so to 
speak, but no public business could be hidden from her. 
The King always worked in her presence, never other- 
wise ; every document that he received she read and 
discussed with him. She was always present at all the 
private audiences that he gave, whether to his subjects 
or to the foreign Ambassadors. Nothing could possibly 
escape her. 

Of the customary diversions of a Court there were 
next to none, for though the Queen was naturally of a 
gay and lively disposition, it was an essential part of her 
policy to conform in all things to her husband's tastes. 
State balls were of rare occurrence ; though the King 
was rather partial to dancing, and sometimes gave an 
informal dance in the royal apartments. Theatrical 
entertainments occasionally took place, but at long 
intervals ; gambling was severely discountenanced. Of 
outdoor pursuits, hunting was impossible, as beasts of 


the chase were seldom met with in the plains, and the 
ground was so hard and rough and so scored with crevices 
as to render the pastime dangerous for both dogs and 
horses. The King, however, went shooting almost every day 
from April till February, during which month and March 
a close time was allowed the game ; but, as he was now 
too bulky and too indolent to walk any distance, his shoot- 
ing-expeditions resolved themselves into a rather disgust- 
ing kind of battue, almost every conceivable quadruped 
from stags to pole-cats being driven up to the guns and 
ruthlessly slaughtered. The Queen invariably accom- 
panied the King, and is said to have been an excellent 
shot, even bringing down pigeons — on the wing, we should 
perhaps add. At these battues, it was contrary to eti- 
quette for any one to discharge his gun until the 
royal pair had ceased firing, by which time it often hap- 
pened that there was nothing left to shoot, except 
wounded animals. Occasionally, however, their Majesties 
graciously permitted some highly-favoured noblemen to 
fire at the same time as themselves. 

During the remaining two months of the year, the 
King contented himself with a daily walk and a game 
of pall-mall, the Queen following as he played, and 
applauding or condoling with him as the occasion 

It was only natural that some of the younger and 
sprightlier members of this dreary Court should have 
occasionally sought relief from the ennui of such an 
existence in the pleasures of gallantry. But they did so 
at their peril ; for Philip, who was unswervingly faithful 
to his consort, had no indulgence for such faults, and 
disgraced pitilessly those who transgressed the moral 

Elizabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain 
From an engraving by Syfang 


law. 1 The old Marechal de Tesse, who succeeded Maule- 
vrier as French Ambassador at the Spanish Court, and 
who, having known Philip from his childhood, could 
venture to speak to him with considerable freedom, was 
indignant on learning that the King had deprived of his 
government the Marquis de Caylus, a French nobleman 
who had followed him to Spain and rendered him valu- 
able service, on an accusation of immorality brought 
against him by a monk. " Sire," said he, " the Dauphin, 
your father, and the King, your grandfather, who partook 
pretty freely of game of this kind, believed, however, 
that there were only two sins : the one, to eat meat on a 
Friday ; the other, to have intercourse with women. 
Still, Sire, if you had done as they, I should pardon you ; 
but, for my part, I tell you plainly that there is more sin 
in believing what a rascal of a monk asserts than in 
going to bed with three women." His Majesty, however, 
declined to view the matter in this light. 

For a day or two after the arrival of the princess 
everything seemed to promise well. Both Philip V. and 
his consort gave the girl a most affectionate welcome and 
overwhelmed her with magnificent presents. Elizabeth 
Farnese, in particular, appeared to be delighted with her 
step-son's bride, and on the day of her arrival told Saint- 
Simon joyfully that she belonged to them now and that 
they would know how to take good care of her. But 
this illusion, unhappily, was to be of very short duration. 

1 An exception was made in the case of the Marques de Santa-Cruz, 
whose credit survived a successful affiliation action brought against him 
by a woman of the middle-class. But he was a great favourite with 
both the King and Queen, and, besides, his wife had obtained a divorce 
on the ground of impotence, so that his culpability was certainly open 
to question. 


The long journey from Paris, undertaken during the 
most inclement season of the year, had somewhat severely 
tried the princess's strength, and she arrived at Lerma 
suffering from a swelling of the glands of the neck, which 
gave her much pain. At first, she appeared a trifle better, 
but when the Court returned to Madrid, she became worse, 
and a rash appeared, which greatly alarmed the King, 
who believed that she was suffering from smallpox, a 
disease of which he entertained a morbid dread. Though 
assured by Saint-Simon that his daughter-in-law had 
already had both smallpox and measles, 1 he refused to 
visit her or to allow the Queen or Don Luis to do so, and 
insisted on the most exaggerated precautions to guard 
against contagion. Convinced at last that she was 
merely suffering from an attack of erysipelas, both he 
and Elizabeth Farnese went to see her, and endeavoured 
to atone for their neglect by lavishing upon the invalid 
all kinds of attentions ; the Queen giving her her food 
and medicine with her own royal hands. But soon a new 
fear seized them. The King ordered Saint-Simon to visit 
the princess — which he had hitherto refrained from doing, 
aware that it was a gross violation of Spanish etiquette 
for a man to see a lady in bed — and to examine her as 
closely as she would permit. On his return, he was sent 
for by Philip V., whom he found, as usual, with the Queen, 
and speedily perceived, from the questions which they 
addressed to him, that they suspected that the sins of the 
father were being visited upon the child. He had all the 
difficulty in the world in persuading them that the Regent, 
notwithstanding the irregularity of his life, enjoyed 

1 The princess had had smallpox in 1719, and measles in the follow- 
ing year. 


excellent health ; indeed, although they protested that 
the Ambassador's assurances had greatly relieved them, 
they remained very uneasy until the girl was pronounced 

It would have been well if £lisabeth d'Orleans, whose 
health was soon completely re-established, had possessed 
as sound a mind as she did a body; for some form of 
mental alienation, aggravated, no doubt, by the sufferings 
which she had undergone and the irksome restraint to 
which she had been subjected during her convalescence, 
can alone explain the extraordinary manner in which she 
now conducted herself. Although the Queen had shown 
her great kindness and attention during her illness, and 
although it was but a few steps from her own apartments 
to those of her Majesty, she obstinately declined to go 
and thank her. She refused to see her doctors ; stormed 
at her ladies when they attempted to reason with her, 
and when the Queen, who, notwithstanding her daughter- 
in-law's sullenness, continued to pay her a daily visit, 
ventured on some mild remonstrances, answered her with 
positive rudeness. 

The Queen, in despair, sent for Saint-Simon and begged 
him to intervene. The Ambassador endeavoured to 
excuse himself, on the pretext that it was impossible 
for him to succeed where her Majesty had failed ; but 
the latter insisted, and he was obliged to obey. He paid 
the erring damsel two or three visits, without getting 
any reply from her beyond " yes " and " no," and not 
always even that ; and then, losing patience, " adopted 
the expedient of saying to her ladies, in her presence, what 
I should have said to her myself." The princess listened 
with sullen indifference to this " veritable lesson," and 


uttered never a word ; but, finally, she consented to visit 
the Queen. She went, however, en deshabille, and with 
such bad grace, that she merely succeeded in aggravating 
her offence, which was no doubt her Royal Highness's 

But the climax of her unmannerly behaviour was 
reached when the time arrived for the grand State ball 
which was to be given in honour of her marriage, and 
which her illness had caused to be postponed. The 
princess detested dancing, for she danced abominably, 
and it kept her up, whereas it was her habit to retire to 
bed very early and rise with the lark ; and, though by 
this time perfectly recovered, to the amazement of the 
Court and the mortification of their Majesties and her 
husband, she announced that she did not intend to 
appear at it. But let us listen to Saint-Simon's account 
of the affair. 

" Everything still remained in readiness for the great 
ball in the Salon of the Grandees, and they waited only 
for the princess, who did not wish to attend. The King 
and Queen loved the ball, as I have mentioned elsewhere. 
They were looking forward with pleasure to this one, and 
the Prince of the Asturias likewise ; and the Court 
awaited it with impatience. The conduct of the 
princess became known abroad and created the most 
grievous impression imaginable. I was privately advised 
that the King and Queen were greatly provoked by it, 
and, being pressed by the princess's ladies to speak to 
her, I went to her apartments and talked with her ladies 
about the princess's health, which apparently would no 
longer delay the pleasures which awaited her. I brought 
the ball on the tapis ; I extolled the arrangement of it, 


the spectacle, the magnificence ; I said that this pleasure 
was peculiarly suited to the princess's age ; that the 
King and Queen were extremely fond of it, and that they 
awaited with impatience the time when she would be 
able to go. On a sudden, she began to speak, although I 
was not addressing her, and cried out, like children who 
are fretting : ' I, to go ! I shall not go.' * Well, Madame,' 
I answered ; ' you will not go ; you will be very sorry for 
it ; you will deprive yourself of a pleasure at which all 
the Court is expecting to see you, and you have too many 
reasons, and too much desire to please the King and 
Queen, to miss any opportunity of doing so.' 

" She was seated and was not looking at me. But, 
immediately after I had spoken thus, she turned her head 
in my direction, and said to me, in the most decided tone 
that I have ever heard : ' No, Monsieur, I repeat it : 
I shall not go to the ball. The King and Queen will go 
there if they wish. They are fond of dancing ; I do not 
care for it. They like to rise and to go to bed late ; I 
to go to bed early. They will follow their inclinations, 
and I shall follow mine.' " 

In vain Saint-Simon and her ladies endeavoured to 
reason with her ; in vain they represented that for so 
young a princess, and one who had only just arrived in 
Spain, to refuse to attend a ball which was given in her 
honour, which was being looked forward to by the King 
and Queen, her husband, and all the Court, and the 
preparations for which had entailed so much trouble and 
expense, was positively indecent. None of their argu- 
ments had the smallest effect upon her ; she was im- 
movable as a rock ; and the unfortunate Ambassador 
had to go to the King and Queen and report the failure 


of his mission. Philip V. spoke in strong terms about the 
capriciousness of his daughter-in-law, and when Saint- 
Simon " took the liberty of saying to him that he did not 
suppose that he wished to inconvenience himself for the 
caprice of a child, which was certainly the result of her 
illness, or to deprive his Court and all the public of so 
agreeable a fete," answered that it was impossible for the 
ball to take place without the princess. 

Elizabeth Farnese made signs to the Ambassador to 
urge the King to give the ball, and Saint-Simon thereupon 
begged him to reconsider his decision, since it was most in- 
advisable " to accustom the princess to believe that every- 
thing was done for her, and that nothing could be done 
without her." But his Majesty would promise nothing. 

On the morrow, the Ambassador had another con- 
versation with the King and Queen, and reminded them 
that he had ventured to represent to their Majesties 
that they were spoiling the princess, adding that they 
would certainly live to repent of having done so. They, 
on their side, complained bitterly of the girl's obstinacy 
and capriciousness, of the brevity of the visits which she 
paid them and the curtness of her manner towards them, 
and of the want of consideration which she showed for 
her ladies. ' Upon which," says Saint-Simon, " I asked 
them to pardon me if I told them that it was the fault of 
their Majesties rather than of a child who knew not what 
she was doing, and that, instead of accustoming her, by 
their excessive kindness, not to deny herself any caprice, 
nothing was more urgent or more important than to 
repress them, to make her understand her duty towards 
them, and to accustom her to the fear and obedience 
which she owed them. 


However, his representations did not have much 
effect, for when next day he encountered them as 
they were starting for the chase, the Queen informed 
him that the State ball had been abandoned, and that 
orders had been given to remove the decorations which 
had been erected in the Salon of the Grandees; and, 
" with an air which I might call sheepish, if one may 
venture upon this term," made a sign to him to say 
nothing more about it. 

Before entering their carriage, they announced that, 
"to cheer themselves up," they were giving a small 
ball that evening in their private apartments, which 
would be confined to the members of their respec- 
tive Households ; and to this they invited him. He 
went, and found that the ball was being held in the 
gallery on to which the apartments of the Princess of 
the Asturias opened. But, though this arrangement had 
evidently been made in the hope that her Royal Highness 
would condescend to put in an appearance, if only for a 
few moments, nothing was seen of her. 

After the affair of the ball, the princess's eccentrici- 
ties seemed to increase rather than diminish, and she 
" conducted herself in everything in the most strange 
manner, gallantry excepted." Towards the end of March, 
Saint-Simon, who was little desirous of continuing 
his thankless role of Mentor to a child who seemed to 
pay not the smallest attention to his long-winded remon- 
strances, concluded his mission and set out for France. 

On March 21, he had his farewell audience of the 
King and Queen, both of whom received him with the 
utmost graciousness and expressed great regret at his 
departure, as did Don Luis, when he went to take leave 


of him. But in another direction he met with very 
different treatment. 

" I went, of course," he writes, " to take leave of the 
Princess of the Asturias, accompanied by all my suite. 
I found her under a dais, standing, her ladies on one side, 
the grandees on the other. I made my three reverences, 
and then pronounced my compliment, which done, I 
waited in silence her reply ; but in vain, for she answered 
me never a word. After some moments of silence, I 
decided to furnish her with matter for an answer, and 
inquired what orders she had to give me for the King, for 
the Infanta, for Madame, and for the Due and Duchesse 
d'Orleans. By way of reply, she looked at me and 
belched so loudly in my face that the noise resounded 
through the room. My surprise was such that I was 
stupefied. A second belch followed as loud as the first. 

" I lost countenance at this and all power of preventing 
myself from laughing, and casting my eyes to right and 
left, I saw every one with their hands to their mouths 
and their shoulders in motion. At last, a third belch, 
still louder than the two which had preceded it, threw 
all present into confusion, and forced me to take to flight, 
followed by all my suite, amidst peals of laughter, all the 
louder because they forced the barriers with which 
every one had endeavoured to restrain himself. Spanish 
gravity was entirely disconcerted ; all was deranged ; 
reverences were omitted ; and each person, bursting 
with laughter, escaped as he could, the princess all the 
while maintaining her countenance. In the adjoining 
room we all stopped to laugh at our ease, and afterwards 
to express our as f onishment more freely." 

Saint-Simon adds that the King and Queen, who were 

Don Luis, Prince of the Asturias 

(afterwards Luis I., King of Spain) 

From an engraving by Picart, after the painting by Viali 

1 ' 




soon informed of this adventure, were the first to laugh 
at it ; "so as to leave others at liberty to do so, a privilege 
which was very largely made use of, without any pressing." 
Nor does it appear to have occasioned either surprise or 
mortification at the Palais-Royal : indeed, the Regent, 
when told of it, laughed heartily. 

The departure of Saint-Simon deprived the Princess 

of the Asturias of the only person who might have 

exercised some influence over her, for the Queen had 

grown tired of reasoning with the girl and delegated that 

duty to the camerara mayor, the Duquesa de Montellano, 

who, finding her remonstrances unheeded, shrugged her 

shoulders, and left her wilful little mistress to go her own 

sweet way. However, after a while, there would, if we 

are to believe the Regent's correspondents at Madrid, 

appear to have been a remarkable improvement in the 

princess's behaviour; and, at the end of April, Philip V.'s 

confessor, Pere Daubenton, wrote to the Regent that 

" her Royal Highness was growing every day more 

amiable and more gracious," and that " her discretion 

was increasing visibly, as well as her figure." And he 

adds : " The Spanish admire her intelligence and her 

charms, and are so taken with her that they believe that 

she will surpass in merit her aunt, the Queen Marie 

Louise. This signifies much in this country." This 

welcome news was confirmed by the princess's own 

dircdeur, Pere de Laubrussel, who, like the Abbe Coli- 

beaux at Modena, had been charged by the Regent to 

send him regular reports ; indeed, the worthy man 

wrote in such eulogistic terms of his penitent, that Dubois 

thought it necessary to warn him that it was feared that 

his attachment to the princess and his desire to please 


the Regent were leading him to deviate from the strict 

The diplomatists were of the same opinion as the eccle- 
siastics. At the beginning of July, Chavigny declared 
that " the Spaniards appeared to him to be more satis- 
fied every day with the manners of the princess," and 
spoke highly of her liberality and affability towards 
the poor, with whom she was now able to converse in 
their own language. 1 And, towards the end of August, 
Robin, first secretary of the French Embassy, writes : 
" The Princess of the Asturias is still the object of the 
affections of the Royal Family and of the admiration 
of all the Court. The proofs of her delicate and lofty 
mind reveal themselves every moment. . . . She is 
gaining hearts." 

These eulogies must be accepted with considerable 
reserve, and, as we have seen, they certainly were so 
received at the Palais-Royal, for, for different reasons, 
every one of the writers desired to flatter the Orleans 
family. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that, at this 
time, the young princess was showing a much more 
accommodating disposition, which encouraged the hope 
that her eccentricities had been largely due to her recent 
illness. This was particularly noticeable in regard to 
her husband, for whom in the little intercourse that had 
been permitted them she had hitherto shown a marked 

Don Luis was a tall, slight, delicate-looking lad, with 
beautiful fair hair and aquiline features which recalled 

1 Despatch of July i, 1722, published by Barthelemy. But Chavigny 
adds : " She has still some puerilities, which age, experience, and her 
own good-sense will correct." 


those of his maternal grandfather, Victor Amadeus II. of 
Savoy, now King of Sardinia. He was of an amiable 
disposition, honourable, well-meaning, and very deferen- 
tial towards his father and stepmother ; he shot well, 
was skilful at all games, and danced admirably; but 
his education had been much neglected, and he was 
excessively shy, awkward, and indolent. Notwithstand- 
ing the coldness of his child-wife, he had conceived 
for her from the first a warm affection, and his joy 
was great when he perceived a change in her demeanour 
towards him. 

In May 1722, the prince fell ill, and, though his indis- 
position does not appear to have been of a very serious 
nature, he was obliged to keep his bed for some days. 
During this time, the princess, repenting apparently of 
her former unkindness, insisted on helping to nurse him, 
and refused even to leave the sick-room until he had 
recovered. Don Luis, deeply touched by what he con- 
sidered a proof of awakening affection, though it was 
probably nothing but a new caprice, became from that 
moment her adoring slave, anticipating her slightest 
wish and humouring her in every conceivable way. The 
King and Queen, so far from checking, appear to have 
encouraged this premature uxoriousness, which naturally 
tended to give the young lady an even more exalted 
opinion of her own importance than she already possessed. 


Ambitions of Elizabeth. Farnese in regard to her eldest son, Don Carlos 
— The Regent determines to offer to the latter the hand of his fifth 
daughter. Mile, de Beaujolais — Beauty and amiable character of 
the little princess — The affair is satisfactorily concluded — Joy of 
the Queen of Spain — Dowry of Mile, de Beaujolais — Her trousseau 
— She sets out for Spain — Her reception at Madrid — Mutual affec- 
tion of Mile, de Beaujolais and her fiance — The little princess con- 
quers all hearts — Jealousy of her elder sister — The Prince and 
Princess c: tibe Asturias begin to live together — Their affectionate 
relations — Resumption of the eccentricities of the princess — Abdica- 
tion of Philip V. in favour of his eldest son. 

TOWARDS the end of the summer of 1722, negotia- 
tions were concluded for a third alliance between 
the two great branches of the House of Bourbon. 

Almost from the moment of the birth of her eldest son, 
Don Carlos., in 1716, it had been the cherished dream of 
Elizabeth Farnese to secure for him a principality in 
Italy, either in Tuscany or in Parma, to the succession 
in both of which she possessed claims. The interests of 
the little prince were not her only object. The health of 
Philip V. gave frequent cause for anxiety, and Elizabeth 
knew that the situation of a widowed queen in Spain, 
compelled to live in some convent on a meagre pension 
irregularly paid, was no enviable one. She was resolved 
not to be subjected to such a fate, but to prepare for herself 
a dignined retreat in her native land, to which, in the 
event of her husband's death, she might withdraw and 
' find consolation en petit for that which she had lost en 
j 1 and." 1 

1 Saint-Simon. 


The French Government was well aware of Elizabeth's 
ambitions, which, it feared, might not improbably lead 
her to make overtures to the Court of Vienna for a 
marriage between Don Carlos and one of the arch- 
duchesses, which must neutralize to a large extent the 
matrimonial arrangements recently concluded. The 
Regent accordingly determined to forestall such an 
alliance, by offering to Don Carlos the hand of his fifth 
daughter, Mile, de Beaujolais. By this means, he would 
not only secure a double hold on Spain, but gratify his own 
family pride, since he could hardly hope for a more 
illustrious parti for the little princess. 

Philippine Elizabeth, Mile, de Beaujolais, was now seven 
years old, having been born on December 18, 1714. She 
bade fair to be the pick of the basket, being an ex- 
ceedingly pretty, bright and intelligent little girl, and, 
in contrast to her sisters, of a sweet-tempered, modest 
and affectionate disposition. Madame was devoted to 
her, and the child visited the old princess almost every 
day. " She is a charming child," she writes, at the end 
of March 1718, " pretty, lively, and amusing ; I am 
warmly attached to her ; she will not want for intelli- 
gence." And a year later : " The little Beaujolais is 
prettier and more attractive than ever." Well indeed 
was it for this charming child that political exigencies 
were about to remove her from the vitiating atmosphere 
of the Palais-Royal, and the evil influence of her family, 
to a Court in which, whatever its faults, youth and 
innocence were rigidly guarded ! 

In April 1722, the first overtures relative to this 
alliance were made by Chavigny to the Spanish Prime 
Minister, Grimaldo, and very favourably received by that 


personage. Chavigny found still more valuable allies in 
Laura Pescatori, formerly the Queen's nurse, who had 
followed Elizabeth to Spain and been promoted to the post 
of azafata, and in Pere Daubenton, though it is hardly 
probable that their Majesties required much pressing, 
since the Queen was well aware of the strength which the 
pretensions of Don Carlos would derive from the 
support of France, and the King was quite content 
to be guided by her wishes. It was, however, the aged 
confessor who negotiated the affair, and on June 23 we 
find him writing to Dubois that " his Catholic Majesty, 
after having conferred with the Queen, consented willingly 
to this matter, on condition that his Royal Highness 
[the Regent] would employ all his forces, conjointly with 
Spain, to assure the States of Tuscany and Parma to the 
Infant Don Carlos." x 

Philippe d'Orleans, though naturally delighted at the 
ready acceptance of his proposal, judged it advisable to 
keep the affair secret until August, when he received 
from the Court of Madrid a formal demand for his 
daughter's hand. " His Royal Highness," writes Dubois 
to Destouches, on August 12, " received yesterday a 
letter by a special courier from the King and Queen of 
Spain, in which they demanded Mile, de Beaujolais in 
marriage for Don Carlos, their son, which was received, 
as you may judge, with much gratitude. They paid this 
compliment to his Royal Highness without the knowledge 
of their Ministers at Madrid, or of those whom we have at 
their Court." 2 

On the same day, the official announcement was made 

1 Baudrillart, Philippe V. et la cour de France. 

2 Ibid. 


in Paris, and Madame 's joy at the news was such as 
actually to overcome for the moment her old hatred of 
Dubois, to whom she addressed an effusive letter, ex- 
pressing her delight " at seeing her dear Mile, de Beau- 
jolais so well established," and congratulating him upon 
the success of his diplomacy. 

The delight of Elizabeth Farnese was not less when 
the Regent's acceptance reached her. " I must be car- 
ried away," writes the English Ambassador, Stanhope, to 
Carteret, " by that torrent of French power and favour, 
which increases every day, and particularly since this last 
marriage, upon which the Queen shows a joy inexpres- 
sible." x Her Majesty caused the Escurial, where the 
Court was then in residence, to be illuminated and a Te 
Deum to be sung ; while, at the same time, she wrote to 
the Regent : " The portrait of the Princesse de Beau- 
j olais which you have sent us has charmed us all : one 
would be unable to behold a more charming and more lov- 
able child. Her little husband is transported with joy, 
and is too happy to possess so charming a princess." 

The articles of the marriage-contract of Don Carlos and 
Mile, de Beauj olais were drawn up in Paris on November 
25, and signed at the Louvre the following day. They 
provided that the princess was to proceed at once to Spain, 
to be brought up there until she had reached a marriage- 
able age. The dowry of the princess was fixed, like that 
of her sister, the Princess of the Asturias, at 400,000 ecus 
given by the King of France, 40,000 by her father, and 
50,000 in jewels by the King of Spain. Louis XV. also 
presented her with a number of jewels, including a pair 
of diamond earrings; while among the Regent's gifts was 

1 Mr. Edward Armstrong, Elizabeth Farnese. 


a cross of pearls and diamonds. The inventory of her 
trousseau makes curious reading. Besides a number of 
costly gowns of silk, satin, or velvet, and the materials 
required for replacing them when she had outgrown them, 
and a large selection of hats, bonnets, gloves, shoes, 
slippers and stockings, she was provided with " four bed- 
quilts, two and a half dozen curling-tongs, twenty-six 
tortoise-shell combs, six powder-puffs, six dozen pillow- 
cases, twelve dozen handkerchiefs, six dozen night-gowns, 
twelve fans, four packets of tooth-picks, and forty-two 
thousand pins." * 

Thus equipped, on December i Mile, de Beaujolais set 
out for Spain, in charge of the Due and Duchesse de 
Duras and their daughter, the Duchesse de Fitz- James — it 
is worthy of note that the two duchesses had taken the 
precaution to demand and obtain from the Regent the 
honours of the soupcoupe before starting — and escorted 
by her half-brother, the Chevalier d'Orleans, and a 
detachment of the Gardes du Corps. The Regent and the 
Due de Chartres travelled with her as far as Bourg-la- 
Reine, as they had with the Princess of the Asturias, 
twelve months before. 

In crossing the Gironde, at Blaye, in the teeth of a 
violent gale, the little princess was very nearly drowned, 
but otherwise her journey was uneventful ; and on 
January 26, 1723, she crossed the Bidassoa, on the 
southern bank of which the Duque de Ossuna and the 
Condesa de Liria, her camerara mayor, were awaiting her. 

The Due de Duras having formally delivered the 
princess into the charge of the Spanish nobleman and the 
usual presents having been exchanged, the French escort 

1 Barth61emy. 


- ■ ■ -. 

"**>«..-• ' 

Philippine Elisabeth d'Orleans (Mlle. de Beaujolais) 
From a contemporary print 



took leave of her, with the exception of the Chevalier 
d'Orleans, who was to accompany his half-sister to 
Madrid, and Mile, de Beaujolais continuing her route, 
arrived on February 14 at Buytrago, a day's journey from 
the capital, whither all the Royal Family had come to 
welcome her. 

The reception accorded the princess was a most flatter- 
ing one, and Don Carlos, an amiable and intelligent little 
boy, was delighted with his fiancee, who, on her side, 
seemed equally pleased with him. Elizabeth Farnese 
hastened to apprise the Palais-Royal of the safe arrival of 
the little traveller and of the affection which the two chil- 
dren seemed to have so quickly conceived for one another. 

" I believe," she writes to the Regent, " that you will 
not be displeased to learn of her first interview with her 
little husband. They embraced very affectionately and 
kissed one another, and it appears to me that he does not 
displease her. Thus, since this evening they do not like 
to leave one another. She says a hundred pretty things ; 
one would not credit the things that she says, unless one 
heard them. She has the mind of an angel, and my son 
is only too happy to possess her. . . . She has charged 
me to tell you that she loves you with all her heart, and 
that she is quite content with her husband." And to the 
Duchesse d'Orleans she writes : "I find her the most 
beautiful and most lovable child in the world. It is the 
most pleasing thing imaginable to see her with her little 
husband : how they caress one another and how they love 
one another already. They have a thousand little secrets 
to tell one another, and they cannot part for an instant." 1 

There can be no doubt that this testimony was perfectly 

1 Barth61emy. 


sincere, for almost from the moment of her arrival the 
beauty, grace and amiability of this charming child 
conquered all hearts, and every one, from the King and 
Queen downwards, vied with one another in efforts to 
please her and to reconcile her to her new life. Their 
task was an easy one, for Mile, de Beaujolais had quitted 
France at too early an age to have been admitted to the 
pleasures in which the Princess of the Asturias had been 
allowed so unwisely to participate. Consequently, the 
austerity of the Court of Madrid did not repel her, as it 
had her sister, and she was perfectly content with the 
childish amusements provided for her ; while the solici- 
tude and affection of which she found herself the object 
must have been a welcome contrast to the indifference 
and neglect to which she had been accustomed at the 

But there was one person at the Court who was very 
far from sharing the general sentiment in regard to 
the newcomer. The Princess of the Asturias had never 
had the smallest affection for the little sister whose 
character differed so widely from her own ; and, though 
she affected to receive her with much affection and wrote 
to the Regent to express her joy at her arrival, she was 
in reality consumed with jealousy and mortification, and 
was soon quite unable to disguise her feelings. " If I may 
be permitted to open my mind to your Royal Highness," 
writes the Chevalier d'Orleans to the Regent, " I should 
confess to you that I very much fear that she [Mile, de 
Beaujolais] is exciting the jealousy of the Princess of the 
Asturias, who has not failed to be annoyed by this little 
princess coming here, and has even expressed her chagrin 
in a bitter manner." 


In consequence, though Pere de Laubrussel assured the 
Regent that " the two sisters were very united," they 
appear to have seen very little of each other — a fact which 
the worthy Jesuit, who was evidently determined to say 
nothing but good of his penitent, attributes to the reluct- 
ance of Mile, de Beaujolais to interrupt her elder sister's 
studies, to which, according to him, she was now devoting 
herself with the most praiseworthy application. 

With her husband the Princess of the Asturias con- 
tinued on excellent terms, so much so, indeed, that in 
August Philip V. decided that the young couple should 
be definitely united. This great event took place at 
the Escurial on Saint-Louis's Day (August 18), when 
the King and Queen solemnly conducted Don Luis in his 
robe de chambre to his wife's bedchamber, and left them 

From that time, the prince and princess lived together 
as man and wife, and were so devoted that even a brief 
separation was sufficient to cause them genuine distress. 
Thus, when, at the end of September, Don Luis had to go 
to San-Ildefonso, they parted amidst floods of tears, 
exclaiming : " Adios, mujer ! adios, marido ! " 

But if the Princess of the Asturias had become to all 
appearance an affectionate and dutiful wife, in other 
respects her behaviour was far from satisfactory, and, 
whereas a few months before she had seemed anxious to 
remove the bad impression she had at first created, she had 
lately begun to conduct herself in a manner which shocked 
and scandalized this punctilious Court and threatened to 
render her profoundly unpopular. 

So little regard had she for the cherished privileges of 
the nobility that one day, in the palace gardens, observing 


that certain gentlemen remained covered in her presence, 
she inquired if it were raining — an impertinence which 
naturally aroused extreme indignation among the 
grandees. She had developed a taste for vulgar and 
malicious practical jokes, and one of her favourite amuse- 
ments was to discharge water from a hose concealed in her 
apartments over the people who passed beneath her 
windows ; while one day, at a Court ceremony, she 
surreptitiously severed the string of the Duquesa de 
Altamira's petticoats, with the most embarrassing con- 
sequences for the lady in question. Her manners at 
table, too, were characterized by " a disgusting sloven- 
liness, concerning which their Majesties have testified 
their pain and surprise, although they have said nothing 
to her about it " ; and, on the pretext of the extreme 
heat of the Spanish summer, she scarcely ever wore either 
stockings or petticoats, and on the rare occasions on 
which she condescended to make a complete toilette did 
so in the most negligent fashion. 

All this was the more regrettable, since at the beginning 
of 1724 an event took place which caused the most 
profound sensation throughout Europe, and made her, 
nominally at least, the first lady in Spain. 

In the last days of 1723, the French Government was 
warned by the Abbe de Coulanges, its charge d'affaires at 
Madrid — the post of Ambassador was at the moment 
vacant, Maulevrier having recently been recalled — that 
Philip V. was suffering from religious mania, and intended 
to resign his throne. The Due de Bourbon, who, on the 
death of the Regent on December 23, had been appointed 
to the post of First Minister, was greatly alarmed, and lost 
no time in instructing the old Marechal de Tesse to 

Philip V., Kino ok Spajn 
From a contemporary print 

- >. o/ 


proceed as Ambassador to Madrid, and use every persuasion 
to induce the King to renounce a resolution which would 
so greatly enhance the importance of the House of 
Orleans, between which and the Condes the bitterest 
enmity existed. But he was too late, for on January 10, 
1724, before Tesse had even left Paris, Philip V. abdicated 
his throne in favour of the Prince of the Asturias, and 
announced his intention of " applying himself during the 
remainder of his days to the service of God and to soli- 

The abdication of Philip V. was the outcome of no 
sudden impulse : he had been contemplating it for some 
time past, and had merely waited until his eldest son 
should be old enough to assume the responsibilities of 
sovereignty. In taking this step, he seems to have been 
actuated solely by his religious scruples. He was subject 
to constantly recurring attacks of melancholia, in which he 
was tormented by agonies of fear that he had offended 
his Maker almost beyond hope of forgiveness, and he 
craved for the leisure and solitude which he considered 
necessary to reconciliation. Few of his contemporaries, 
however, were inclined to accept so simple an explanation. 
They could not bring themselves to believe that Philip's 
high-spirited and ambitious consort would have tamely 
concurred in such a renunciation, unless she had seen in it 
the probability of obtaining abundant compensation for 
the position she was surrendering ; and it was the general 
opinion that the underlying motive of the King's abdica- 
tion was the desire to facilitate his accession to the throne 
of France, in the event of the death of Louis XV. For, if 
he were no longer King of Spain, his renunciation of the 
Crown of France would no longer be binding upon him. 


It is very improbable that Philip was influenced by any 
such calculation, although it is quite conceivable that, 
had Louis XV. died during the next few months, he would 
have been ready enough to take advantage of the coin- 
cidence, since his acceptance of the Crown of Spain and 
his renunciation of that of France formed an important 
element in the religious mania from which he suffered. 
Nor would this peculiar form of political speculation 
have been likely to appeal to Elizabeth Farnese, greatly 
as she might desire translation to the throne of a country 
so much more congenial to her than Spain, and where 
dowager-queens were treated with every honour. The 
fact is that Elizabeth consented to her husband's abdica- 
tion, because she could not prevent it. Her influence 
over the King was immense, but it was not proof against 
his religious scruples. 


The accession of Luis I. hailed with great satisfaction at Madrid — The 
new King reigns only nominally, and Philip V. and Elizabeth, from 
their retreat at San-Ildefonso, continue to govern — Docility of Luis 
to his father's wishes — His boyish pranks — The young Queen, freed 
from all constraint, treats her husband with contempt, and behaves 
in an extraordinary manner — She accuses her major-domo, Fou- 
cault de Magny, of grossly insulting her — Despatch of the Marechal 
de Tesse to the Due de Bourbon — Magny is recalled to France — 
Antipathy of Elizabeth Farnese towards her daughter-in-law — 
Curious despatches of Tesse — Despair of Luis I. at the outrageous 
behaviour of his consort — Episode at San-Ildefonso — The young 
Queen, refusing to listen to any remonstrances, is conducted to the 
Alcazar and kept in close confinement — After a captivity of nearly 
three weeks, she is set at liberty and restored to favour — Illness and 
death of Luis I. — Pitiable situation of his widow, the Court of Spain 
being unwilling to keep her or France to receive her — It is finally 
decided that she shall return to France — Rupture of the marriage 
arranged between Louis XV. and the Infanta — Indignation of the 
Court of Spain — The widowed Queen and Mile, de Beaujolais are 
sent back to France — Sad life of the former — Her death — Constancy 
of Don Carlos and Mile, de Beaujolais — Negotiations for their mar- 
riage — Attitude of Fleury — Death of the princess. 

BORN on August 25, 1707, Luis I. was little more than 
sixteen when he ascended the throne. Nevertheless, 
this event was hailed with great satisfaction by the 
Spaniards, and in particular by the inhabitants of Madrid, 
with whom the cold, melancholy Philip and his Italian 
wife were extremely unpopular ; whereas the new King, 
born and brought up among them and attached both by 
habit and inclination to the manners and customs of the 
country, was regarded with sympathy and affection ; and 



when, in accordance with ancient custom, his accession 
was proclaimed in the streets of the capital by the cry of 
" Castilla, oid, oid, oid, por Luis primer o, Rey de Castillo., 
Leon y Arragon! " the enthusiasm of the populace knew 
no bounds. 1 

Nothing could have been more formal than Philip's 
renunciation of power ; he had taken a solemn oath never 
to resume it ; he had even donned the little habit of 
St. Francis. 2 Of all the Ministers and great officers of the 
Royal Household, none save Grimaldo and his chamber- 
lain Valouse followed him into retirement. The Queen 
retained only Laura Pescatori and five of her waiting- 
women. The establishment at San-Ildefonso was limited 
to sixty persons, and it was only with difficulty that Philip 
was persuaded to accept a small body of guards. His 
pension was fixed at 480,000 piastres, with reversion to 
the Queen in the event of his death. 

But it was merely the appearance, and not the reality, 
which Philip had renounced, and it was from San-Ildefonso, 
and not from Madrid, that Spain was governed. This may 
have been partly due to the counsels of Tesse, who had 
visited the ex-monarch before proceeding to Madrid and 
begged him to retain control over his son ; but the Queen 
and Grimaldo had already taken steps to secure the 
subordination of the young King. Before surrendering 
his Crown, Philip had confided the Government to a 
Cabinet Council composed of seven persons, with Don 
Luis de Miraval, President of Castile, at their head, all of 
whom were either nonentities or persons who owed 
everything to Grimaldo. Every matter discussed by the 

1 Baudrillart. 

* Mr. Edward Armstrong, Elizabeth Farnese. 


Cabinet at Madrid was immediately communicated to 
the Court of San-Ildefonso, and no decision was ever 
arrived at until its views had been ascertained. 

The new King, always a model of filial obedience, never 
dreamed of protesting against this tutelage. He had 
begun by making lavish grants of pensions and places, but, 
on the representations of Philip, he immediately cancelled 
them and continued to conform in every respect to his 
father's wishes. One day, the young Queen happened to 
be particularly anxious that something should be done of 
which San-Ildefonso had expressed its disapproval. When 
her husband refused, she grew angry, sulked, wept, and 
ended by exclaiming : " Are you not the King, and am I 
not the Queen ? ' " Yes," was the grave reply. " I am 
the King, and you are the Queen ; but the King, my 
father, is my master and yours." x 

It was well that the young monarch showed such 
admirable docility, for he was as yet quite unfitted to take 
upon himself the cares of State. Not only was he very 
ignorant and extremely lazy, but he was in character a mere 
child, and, having been very strictly brought up, con- 
ducted himself during his first days of liberty very much 
like a colt which, after a long confinement in the stable, is 
suddenly transferred to the freedom of the paddock. 
" So sudden an elevation at so early an age," observes 
Coxe, " gave scope to the thoughtlessness of youthful 
levity. He was at first inattentive to business, and so 
careless of public respect, that he often sallied forth at 
night, in disguise, to scour the streets of the capital, or 
to strip the royal gardens of their fruit, that he might, the 
following morning, be gratified with the frivolous pleasure 

1 Tesse to Morville, June 5, 1724, in Baudrillart. 


of witnessing the vexation of the gardeners." Another 
and more objectionable diversion of his Catholic Majesty, 
which the reverend historian is apparently too modest to 
mention, was his habit of prowling about the corridors 
of the palace, in the company of three or four of his pages, 
and bursting open the bedroom-doors of his wife's ladies- 

It is satisfactory, however, to learn that " these first 
ebullitions of youth rapidly subsided. He respected the 
remonstrances of his father, who urged that such ir- 
regularities would dishonour his Crown, and diminish 
the respect and affection of his people. This docility 
afforded a presage that, when he attained the age of 
reflection, and his understanding was matured by 
experience, he would not disappoint the predilection with 
which he was regarded by the nation." x 

The conduct of the young Queen inspired far greater 
uneasiness. The splendour of her new position had, as 
might have been anticipated, proved altogether too much 
for the girl's ill-balanced mind ; and now, freed from all 
constraint, she proceeded to indulge to the full her 
wayward fancies, and behaved in a manner which was 
not only eccentric, but at times positively indecent. She 
very quickly showed that the affection and deference she 
had displayed towards her husband during the last months 
of Philip V.'s reign had been a mere passing caprice, and 
treated him with the most humiliating coldness and 
disdain. When they rode together in the royal coach, she 
would deliberately turn her back upon him. At table, she 
would sit in stony silence, watching his Majesty eat and 

1 History of the Bourbons of Spain. The archdeacon's authority is 
a despatch of Stanhope to Carteret, dated April 15, 1724. 


drink, without touching a morsel herself, and immediately 
the meal was over, hurry away and share the repast of her 
ladies-in-waiting. She ate enormously, at all hours, and 
would insist upon her ladies doing likewise, waiting upon 
them herself, and scolding and slapping them if they 
refused to eat. She would go for country -walks with her 
dress pulled up to her knees, displaying her bare legs, for, 
as we have said, she usually discarded both stockings and 
petticoats, and sometimes would not return until long 
after darkness had fallen. In short, she appeared never so 
happy as when " ridiculing that etiquette which had been 
sanctioned by ages, and scandalizing this grave Court and 
punctilious nation by her indiscreet, if not licentious, 
behaviour." * 

Towards the end of April 1724, an incident occurred 
which made a great scandal and prejudiced public opinion 
more seriously against the young Queen than any of her 
previous escapades. It will be remembered that on the 
occasion of the ball given by the Duchesse de Berry in 
honour of the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine early in 
1718, a disturbance had been created by a certain Fou- 
cault de Magny, an uninvited guest, who subsequently 
spent a few days in the Bastille. Not long afterwards, 
Magny, having been compromised in the Cellamare con- 
spiracy, was obliged to take refuge in Spain, where he 
was well received by Philip V., and rose so rapidly to 
favour that, after being governor of the Infants, he was 
appointed major-domo to the new Queen. This last 
promotion, however, was to prove his undoing. 

One fine morning, it happened that her youthful 
Majesty, dressed as usual " sans bas ni jupes," had 

1 Coxe. 


climbed to the top of a long ladder which had been left 
standing in her apartments, when she was seized with 
fear and called for help. Magny, who, unluckily for 
himself, was in an adjoining room, hearing her cry of 
distress, hurried to the spot, sprang up the ladder, and 
assisted her to descend. He imagined that he had 
rendered her a service ; but, to his horror and indignation, 
he learned, a few hours later, that she had complained 
that he had endeavoured to outrage her during their 
progress down the ladder, and that her resistance alone 
had protected her honour. 

The absurdity of such a charge was manifest, for all 
the Queen's ladies had been gathered at the foot of the 
ladder while the unfortunate major-domo was assisting 
their mistress to descend ; but the mad-brained girl per- 
sisted in it, and, unless some way out of the difficulty 
could be found, it would be necessary for M. de Magny's 
head to part company with his body. 

To prevent this tragic denouement and to hush up so 
terrible a scandal, Philip V. and his consort sent for 
Tesse, and begged him to get Magny recalled immediately 
to France. This the Ambassador promised to do, and 
addressed urgent representations on the subject to the 
Due de Bourbon, at the same time throwing all the blame 
on the young Queen. "As for the imprudence that he 
[Magny] has committed with the Queen," he writes, " if 
there is any one worthy of blame, it is she, who has claimed 
undeserved credit for a thing of which the poor devil was 
innocent. She had climbed to the top of a ladder . . . 
she thought she was going to fall and cried out for help. 
Magny mounted and assisted her to descend, before all 
her women ; but, unless he were blind, it must needs be 


that he saw that which certainly he did not seek to see, 
and which it is her habit to show very freely. The 
Queen accused him of being insolent. In truth, one is not 

so with these ladies, except when they wish to compel 

" i 

us. * 

The humiliation of a member of the detested Orleans 
family occasioned Monsieur le Due such lively satisfaction 
that he was very far from anxious to assist in hushing 
up this adventure ; and it was only after considerable 
pressure from Elizabeth Farnese that he finally consented 
to recall Magny. " I forgot to thank you," writes she to 
Tesse, " for what you have done for Magny. If I could 
have thought that would have caused so much difficulty 
yonder, I should not have opened my mouth, for I 
have nothing to do with him. But I have acted merely 
out of charity ; to protect the young woman who was 
concerned in it, and who is so nearly related to us." 

On his arrival in France, Magny found awaiting him a 
lettre de cachet forbidding him to approach Paris. He 
also learned that his wife had seized upon his property, 
and that, after a life of comparative affluence, he was now 
threatened with poverty. However, he was a person of 
both courage and resource, and the buffetings of Fortune 
appear to have affected him but little. Any way, he 
lived to a patriarchal age, and died, at his chateau of 
Magny, in July 1772, in his ninety-seventh year. 

Although Elizabeth Farnese had exerted herself to 
hush up this miserable affair, it was certainly not out of 
affection for the young Queen, for whom she had now 
conceived the most violent dislike, which was no doubt 

1 Despatch of April 31, in Lemontey, les Filles du Regent, Revue 
retrospective, Serie I. tome 1. 


as much due to jealousy at seeing her in possession of 
those honours which had once been reserved for herself 
as to any other reason. " The Queen, the wife of Philip, 
cannot endure her," writes Tesse to his patron at Ver- 
sailles. And again : " The Queen [Elizabeth Farnese] 
has said to me : ' We have made a terrible acquisition ; 
she will be like her sisters, if she is not worse.' ' x 

If we are to take the despatches of Tesse au pied de la 
l e tt re — it is only fair to Elisabeth d'Orleans to observe 
that some historians are of opinion that the Ambassador 
consistently exaggerated her eccentricities, in order to 
please Monsieur le Due — the young lady would certainly 
appear to be going the right way to emulate the exploits 
of the Duchesse de Berry and the Princess of Modena. 

He says that there was almost every evening " une 
petite fondation de litanies," between the Queen and three 
or four of her maids-of-honour, and that these litanies 
were " composed of the worst indecencies and the most 
significant expressions." He also says that, in the 
condition of our first parents, and with her arms and legs 
tied to a stick passed behind her knees, her Majesty 
would frequently engage with these same favourites in a 
bout of " cock-fighting "—a game which, if harmless 
enough in itself, was certainly a most unsuitable diver- 
sion for a Queen. 

The poor young King was in despair at the conduct of 
his wife, and Tesse wrote that he had been told by their 
Majesties at San-Ildefonso that Luis had confessed to 
them that he would "prefer to be a galley-slave rather 
than live with a creature who observed no decorum and 
no complaisance towards him, and who thought only of 
1 Despatches of February 28 and April 7, 1725, in Barthelemy. 

Luis I., King ok Spain 
From a painting by an unknown artist 

o O (» I < 


eating and of exhibiting herself in a nude condition, to 
the great scandal of the humblest of her servants ; that 
it was not proper for a Queen of Spain to lead this kind of 
life, of which he was unable to correct her ; for, though 
he had spoken to her about it three times in private, she 
had only laughed at his remonstrances." 

At the end of June, the young couple, " who had been 
living like dog and cat," went on a visit to the ex-King 
and Queen at San-Ildefonso. Philip V., overcoming his 
natural timidity in order to obey the formal injunctions 
of his confessor, summoned the young Queen to his 
cabinet, and spoke to her very strongly indeed, " threaten- 
ing to have her shut up in a convent if she did not mend 
her ways, and assuring her that his son would approve 
these severe measures." x The girl wept copiously and 
" appeared touched by repentance " ; but the following 
morning, Philip, happening to look out of his window, 
perceived his daughter-in-law promenading the gardens 
— in which a number of labourers were just then at work 
— clad only in a chemise and a dressing-gown, with which 
latter garment the wind, which had risen during the 
night, was taking curious liberties. 

The two Kings therefore decided that, if her Majesty's 
behaviour did not show an improvement within forty- 
eight hours of her return to Madrid, she should be shut 
up in her apartments and kept there for some time, to 
give her leisure for repentance. 

A day or two later, the royal pair set out for Madrid. 
It was an unpleasant journey, for, " as soon as she [the 
Queen] entered the carriage with the King, she turned 
her back upon him, sulked, and did not say a word the 

1 Tesse to the Due de Bourbon, July 2, 1724. 


whole way." On their arrival at the Retiro, where they 
were then residing, her Majesty resumed her irregular 
habits ; and on July 4 Luis, at the end of his patience, 
resolved to put into execution the plan which he and 
his father had decided upon. 

Accordingly, he sent for Valero and the Duquesa de 
Altamira, the Queen's major-domo and earner ar a mayor, 
and was closeted with them for more than an hour. 
When the Queen was entering her carriage for her daily 
drive in the Prado, the duchess presented herself, and 
showed her an order from the King, directing her to 
accompany her mistress, although she had been for some 
time excused this service, on account of her age. She 
then took her seat opposite the Queen, while the ladies 
in attendance followed in another carriage. As they were 
returning, the camerara mayor showed the Queen a second 
order, directing her to conduct her Majesty not to the 
Retiro, but to the Alcazar. The officer in command of 
her escort exhibited an order to the same effect. The 
Queen fell into a transport of rage and cried out re- 
peatedly : "To the Retiro ! " But her protests were 
unheeded, and she was driven to the Alcazar, and carried, 
struggling and screaming, to her apartments, where 
Valero had got everything in readiness for her reception. 
Here she was left, with the Duquesa de Altamira, two 
maids-of-honour, and one of her mattres-d 'hotel, under a 
strong guard. The same evening, her arrest was officially 
announced in a circular letter to the foreign Ministers. 1 

As envoy of the Due de Bourbon, charged by him to 
counteract in every way the influence of the House of 
Orleans, Tesse could not but rejoice at a misadventure so 

1 Coxe, History of the Bourbons of Spain. 


humiliating to the young Queen, and did not fail to 
inform his patron of the details, with many malicious 
interpretations and sombre prognostications for the future 
of the royal menage. But, as Ambassador of France, it 
was his duty to appear to interest himself in the fate of a 
French princess ; and accordingly on the morrow he 
presented himself at the King's lever, and, having de- 
manded an audience of his Majesty, inquired what ex- 
planation of the affair he was to send his Government. 

" It is," said the King, " a mortification which I wished 
to inflict on the Queen to correct her conduct. I have 
spoken to her several times, and my father has done 
likewise ; but it has had no effect upon her." " Sire," 
replied Tesse, " I recognise clearly that they are but 
childish follies, natural to persons of her age, wherein 
there is nothing criminal, and that it is a punishment 
which your Majesty intends to inflict upon her, and which 
will have the result I hope for." " Yes," rejoined the 
King, " we shall see whether this mortification will 
correct her. You may send an account of the matter to 


After a week had passed, during which the Queen 
remained in very close confinement, permission to take 
a walk in the palace gardens being even refused, the 
Ambassador felt it to be his duty to remark upon the 
prolongation of her captivity, and to suggest that, as her 
Majesty was a French princess, a few words of paternal 
advice from himself might not be out of place. Luis, 
however, begged him to wait, promising to inform him 
when he judged that the time had arrived when such 
counsel might be usefully tendered. 

It was not, indeed, until nearly a fortnight later (July 


23), that the King authorised Tesse to visit his captive 
consort, at the same time informing him that he proposed 
to set her at liberty that same evening, if the Ambassador 
found her in a chastened mood. Tesse lost no time in 
repairing to the Alcazar, where he found the Queen 
looking none the worse for her detention, and proceeded 
to give her a mild lecture, pointing out that the happiness 
of her life depended on herself alone. Her Majesty 
frankly acknowledged that half the imputations against 
her were true, but maintained that the other half were 
false, and that, however foolishly she might have acted, 
she had been guilty of nothing criminal. She expressed 
contrition for her faults, promised amendment, and 
entreated her husband's forgiveness. 

On leaving her, Tesse returned to the King to report the 
result of his visit. Luis, satisfied that his wife was now 
penitent, sent the Prince of Cellamare to inquire at what 
time the Oueen wished to drive that afternoon, and timed 
his own return from the chase so that their carriages 
should meet near the Puente Verde. The Queen alighted 
and knelt to kiss her husband's hand ; but Luis raised 
her up, embraced her tenderly, and brought her in his 
own carriage to the Retiro, where he presented her with a 
magnificent parure of diamonds, as a pledge of his for- 
giveness. The King, indeed, seemed anxious to make 
amends for the publicity of her disgrace by giving equal 
publicity to her restoration to favour, and there can be 
no doubt that he was still genuinely attached to his wife 
and most anxious to live with her or amicable terms. But 
the girl, resenting the precaution he had taken to prevent 
a repetition of her worst irregularities by the dismissal of 
the greater number of her maids-of-honour, refused to 


give him the slightest encouragement, and though she 
treated him in public with all due deference, her manner 
was almost as cold and distant as before. 

Possibly, if the young King's life had been spared a little 
longer, Elisabeth d'Orleans might have recognised her 
mistake and learned to appreciate the good qualities 
of her husband. But within a few weeks of her release 
from the Alcazar she found herself a widow. 

Luis I. had always been of a somewhat delicate con- 
stitution, and he had also greatly overtaxed his strength 
in his passion for physical exercises. On August 15, 
he was seized with repeated attacks of faintness and 
compelled to take to his bed, and a few days later smallpox 
declared itself. The disease appeared to be following a 
normal course, and though the King was suffering a good 
deal, his condition did not inspire any great anxiety, 
when, on the evening of the 25th, his physicians most 
imprudently decided to bleed him. The royal patient at 
once experienced an alarming relapse, and by the morning 
of the 30th his case was pronounced hopeless. 

When informed of his approaching end, the poor lad 
showed the most touching resignation. Without a word of 
regret for his youth and his throne, he observed to those 
about him that he would be that evening in Paradise, 
and then proceeded to execute a deed, whereby he re- 
turned to his father all that he had received from him, and 
authorised him to dispose of his private property as he 
thought fit. He concluded by recommending the Queen 
very particularly to his care. On the morrow (August 31), 
he expired, having completed his seventeenth year a few 
days before. 

During the King's illness, his father and stepmother did 


not come near him ; but his wife moved to his apartments, 
and remained there until the end, although such was 
the fear which the disease inspired in her ladies that not 
one of them could be prevailed upon to accompany her 
mistress. It would appear, however, that the young 
Queen's devotion to her sick husband was not voluntary, 
and Lemontey assures us that, since she had not had 
smallpox, 1 and it was quite possible that she was enceinte, 
she was compelled to remain by the King's bedside, in 
the hope that she might contract the disease in a fatal 
form, and thus extricate the Court of Spain from what 
might prove a most embarrassing situation. " I can 
hardly doubt," he writes, " the odious intention of this 
constraint, when I read in the letter of the Duchesse 
de Saint-Pierre, 2 written on the eve of the King's death, 
these too significant words : ' There is nothing which they 
have not done to make her [the Queen] take the small- 
pox.'" 3 

In fact, the girl did contract the disease which had 
robbed her of her husband, though not in a dangerous 
form. Her convalescence, however, was slow, and it was 
not until the first week in November that she was pro- 
nounced cured. Tesse, who visited her on the 2nd, 
reports that she had grown very much, but that her 
person was " more neglected and more slovenly than that 
of a waitress in a cabaret ; " adding some coarse reflections 
which we forbear to transcribe. 

No one, indeed, appeared to have a good word to say 
for the unfortunate girl, who had lost in her husband her 

1 As a matter of fact, the Queen had had smallpox in 1719. 

2 She was a sister of the French Minister, the Marquis de Torcy 
and an intimate friend of Elizabeth Farnese. 

8 Les Fillesdu Regent, Revue retrospective, Serie I, tome 1. 



sole protector, and whose situation was a really pitiable 
one. Philip V., who had been persuaded by Elizabeth 
Farnese and her partisans to resume the Crown, to the 
intense disgust of the majority of the nation, who would 
have infinitely preferred the succession of his second son, 
Don Fernando, was feverishly anxious to get rid of her. 
" In God's name," said he to Tesse, three days after the 
death of the young king, " make them understand that 
we shall open every door, and furnish her, by means of 
certain revenues, with the opportunity of returning to 
France ; while his wife, who appeared to entertain a very 
poor opinion of the virtue of her daughter-in-law, 
predicted that, if she remained in Spain, they would 
receive one fine morning news of some terrible scandal. 
And their Majesties," writes the Ambassador, " told me 
that, since the death of the King, she had indulged in 
transports of joy, and conducted herself in a manner so 
extraordinary, that decency does not permit me to repeat 
the frightful things that they have told me." 

The widowed Queen, on her side, would have been only 
too willing to shake the dust of her adopted country off 
her feet ; but unfortunately the French Government was 
as little anxious to receive her as were her Spanish 
relatives to keep her, and Tesse received instructions to 
do everything possible to prevent her returning to France. 
However, after several weeks' correspondence on the 
subject, Elizabeth Farnese, who had been studying her 
daughter-in-law's marriage-contract, found there a clause 
which provided that, in the event of the princess being 
left a widow without children, she should have the right, 
if she so desired, of returning to France ; and trium- 
phantly drew Tesse's attention to it. In the face of this 


discovery, it was, of course, impossible for the French 
Government to persist in its objection to the return of the 
young Queen. It therefore resolved to confine its efforts 
to persuading her to accept a residence as far as possible 
from the capital," where," wrote the Secretary for Foreign 
Affairs, Morville, " her rank would cause too much 
embarrassment " ; while Tesse was charged to do every- 
thing possible to prolong her stay in Spain." 

The departure of the young lady was, in fact, retarded 
for many weeks, notwithstanding the anxiety of Philip V. 
and his consort to get rid of her. There were differences 
between the two Courts respecting the pension which 
she was to receive ; concerning the composition of her 
Household ; about the conditions of her journey to the 
frontier — the Spanish Government desiring to do the 
thing as cheaply as possible, and, according to the 
expression of Tesse, " to plant her down at Bayonne, like 
a packet of dirty linen." And, finally, when all these 
matters had been adjusted, a most acrimonious and 
unseemly dispute arose between the Dues de Bourbon and 
d' Orleans, on the question whether the latter or the French 
Government ought to defray the expenses of the carriages 
required to convey the Queen and her suite from Bayonne 
to Vincennes, where it had been decided that she should 
take up her residence. 

In consequence, the early spring of 1723 found the 
widowed Queen still at Madrid ; and it is possible that 
her departure might have been delayed for some time 
longer, had not an event occurred which rendered her 
stay in Spain no longer possible. 

The marriage arranged by the Regent and Dubois 
between Louis XV. and the Infanta had always been 


regarded with the strongest disfavour by the Due de 
Bourbon, for years must elapse before the " Infanta- 
Queen," as the little princess was called, would be able to 
bear an heir to the throne, and should his Majesty die 
without male issue, the new Due d'Orleans, whom he 
cordially hated, would become King. To avert this 
calamity, Monsieur le Due would have been quite prepared 
to support the claims of Philip V. to the throne, but since 
the death of Luis I. and Philip's resumption of the Crown 
of Spain, his chances in France had declined so greatly 
that it was now quite clear that, in the event of a vacancy, 
the succession of the Due d'Orleans would be unques- 
tioned. Urged on by his mistress, the beautiful and 
ambitious Madame de Prie, who at this moment practi- 
cally governed France, he had therefore decided to send 
back the Infanta, and to marry Louis XV. with as little 
delay as possible to some princess capable of at once 
making him a father ; and for weeks past French agents 
had been busily prosecuting all over Europe their search 
for the future Queen of France. 

Early in 1725, a despatch from Philip V. to his Am- 
bassador at the Court of Versailles was intercepted by 
the agents of Monsieur le Due, which showed that it 
was his intention to demand ' ' the public declaration of 
the nuptial arrangements " between Louis XV. and the 
Infanta ; and almost immediately afterwards the young 
King fell so ill that for several days he was believed to be 
in serious danger. 

This last event precipitated matters, and the French 
Government resolved not to wait until the new fiancee was 
chosen, but to inform the Court of Madrid at once of the 
resolution at which it had arrived. Tesse, who, suspecting 


what was in the wind and being unwilling to be a party to 
it, had demanded his recall, was replaced by the Abbe de 
Livry, charge d'affaires at Lisbon ; and it was he who 
presented to the King of Spain the letter in which Louis 
XV. endeavoured to justify the affront which he was 
inflicting upon his uncle. 

" Trembling from head to foot, the abb6 presented to 
the King his master's letter. The Queen was at the end 
of the cabinet, occupied with her correspondence. Sud- 
denly, she heard the King strike the table violently, 
and cry out : ' Ah ! the traitor ! ' She ran to him. . . . 
The King handed her the letter, saying : ' Take it, 
Madame, read it ! ' The Queen read it, and then, hand- 
ing back the letter, she replied with great composure : 
' Well ! We must send to receive the Infanta.' " 

Such is the account given of this audience by the 
President Henault, but, according to Coxe, Elizabeth 
Farnese was anything but composed. " The queen," 
he writes, " tearing a portrait of Louis XV. from her 
bracelet, trampled it under foot, and exclaimed : ' All the 
Bourbons are a race of devils ! ' But, recollecting the 
relationship of her husband to that House, she turned 
to him and added : ' Except your Majesty.' " To the 
English Ambassador, Stanhope, who was immediately 
sent for, she expressed her indignation with still greater 
freedom. " That one-eyed scoundrel," said she, alluding 
to the Due de Bourbon, who, as we have mentioned, had 
lost an eye by a shooting accident, 1 "has sent back my 
daughter, because the King would not create his con- 
cubine's husband a grandee of Spain ! " 

The nation shared the resentment of its King and 

1 See p. 44, note 2, supra. 

Thk Infanta Maria Ana Victoria 
From the painting by Largilliere, in the Museum oi the Prado 


Queen. When the news was known in Madrid, the 
indignation of the populace knew no bounds ; excited 
crowds paraded the streets, and the French residents 
trembled for their safety. On March 19, the Abbe de 
Livry was handed his passports, and requested to leave 
Madrid within twenty-four hours and Spain within a 
fortnight ; all the French consuls received orders to leave 
the country within the same period ; and, finally, a decree 
was published for the deportation of every Frenchman 
in Spain who did not immediately apply for letters of 
naturalisation, though this was subsequently with- 
drawn. 1 

The rupture of the betrothal between Don Carlos and 
Mile, de Beaujolais was decided upon by way of reprisals, 
and Philip V. even talked of imprisoning the little 
princess and his widowed daughter-in-law in some remote 
corner of the kingdom, where they should remain as 
hostages for the Infanta. But he soon changed his mind, 
and on March 23 the two sisters quitted Madrid and set 
out for France. The Court, with whom she had been a 
universal favourite, saw the departure of Mile, de Beau- 
jolais with regret ; while Don Carlos was in despair at the 
loss of his betrothed. 

At Lerma, the princesses were detained until after 
Easter, being treated very much like prisoners of State, 

1 This decree had been extorted from Philip V. by the Queen ; but, 
on reflection, the King perceived its impracticability, and had recourse 
to a whimsical expedient to pacify his imperious consort — one of the 
few jokes with which this melancholy monarch has been credited. 
Summoning his valets de chambre, he bade them empty his wardrobes 
and pack his trunks, as though for a long journey. The Queen, enter- 
ing amidst the bustle, inquired the cause of such preparations. " Is it 
not decreed," said Philip, "that all the French leave Spain ? I am a 
Frenchman, and am therefore preparing for my journey." Elizabeth 
burst out laughing, and the order was recalled. — Coxe. 


and then sent on to Burgos, to await news of the journey 
of the Infanta. That little lady left Paris on April 5, 
under the care of the Duchesse de Tallard. She was 
treated with every imaginable honour, and informed 
that she was merely going to pay a visit to her family. 
The exchange of princesses was effected on the 22nd, at 
the foot of the mountain of Saint- Jean-Pied-de-Port. 
The Spaniards, according to Mathieu Marais, had sworn 
that they would accept no presents, but the sight of the 
magnificent gifts intended for them, which included a 
silver toilette-set valued at 100,000 ecus, proved too much 
for their cupidity, and they took them all ; while the 
ladies who had escorted the Infanta had to return empty- 
handed to Paris. 

The princesses were unable to make their entry into 
Bayonne for some days, for the spiteful Due de Bourbon 
had neglected to send orders for preparations to be made 
for their reception until they had almost reached the 
frontier. He had also countermanded the carriages of the 
Court, and the Duchesse d'Orleans was obliged to send 
her own for the conveyance of her daughters and their 
suite to Vincennes, where they arrived at the end of 

Few widowed queens have found themselves relegated 
more completely to obscurity than Elisabeth d'Orleans. 
" Of the incoherent dream of her royalty," observes 
Lemontey, " nothing remained to her in France save the 
ennui of a dignity without power and the ridicule of a 
guard covered with rags." 

Her life was a sad one, for she commanded neither 
affection nor respect from those about her ; and the one 


desire of her relatives, alarmed lest she should resume 
in France the eccentricities which had caused so much 
scandal in Spain, was to see as little of her as possible. 
For two years she lived at Vincennes, but the pension 
promised her by Philip V. was so irregularly paid as to 
cause her serious pecuniary difficulties, and in 1727 she 
was obliged temporarily to break up her Household and 
retire to the Carmelites of the Faubourg Saint-Jacques. 
In this pious retreat she remained for more than three 
years, when, the continued representations of the French 
Government having at length succeeded in securing the 
payment of the arrears due to her, she installed herself 
in the Luxembourg, where she lived an obscure and 
monotonous existence, dominated by servants who were 
bribed by Spain to spy upon her actions, presumably in 
the hope of discovering something which might furnish 
the parsimonious Court of Madrid with some plausible 
pretext for discontinuing her pension. 

Her contemporaries mention her but seldom, and when 
they do, it is generally in reference to some squabble on 
a point of etiquette, such as that with her sister, the 
Princess of Modena, described elsewhere. 1 During the 
last years of her life she became exceedingly devout, 
passed the greater part of her time in devotional exercises, 
and refused to receive any one. She died of dropsy, at the 
Luxembourg, on June 16, 1742, and was interred in the 
Church of Saint-Sulpice, the simple inscription : " Cy 
gtt Elisabeth, reine douariere d'Espagne ,: being, by her 
own instructions, engraved upon her tomb. 

Her death was hailed with relief by her relatives on 
both sides of the Pyrenees ; and the Due de Luynes 

1 See p. 351, infra. 


relates that when Campo-Florido, the Spanish Ambassa- 
dor, came, with great ceremony, to make the official 
announcement of this event to the Royal Family, on 
account of the absence of Louis XV., " he was unable to 
refrain from smiling, and was received also with smiles 
by the Queen, the Dauphin and Madame. 1 

The sister who had accompanied her from Spain had 
predeceased her by more than eight years. During this 
time more than one matrimonial alliance appears to have 
been suggested to her, only to be refused, for Mile, de 
Beaujolais still cherished the hope of being one day 
reunited to the prince from whom the exigencies of 
politics had separated her, but whom she was unable to 
forget. The Duchesse d'Orleans, from motives of ambition, 
entered into her daughter's views, and when, towards the 
end of 1730, diplomatic relations between France and 
Spain were resumed, and the Comte de Rothembourg 
was despatched as Ambassador to Madrid, she seized the 
opportunity to approach Fleury on the subject. 

The report, however, which Rothembourg despatched 
to his Government of his first audience with their Catholic 
Majesties, in which the Queen refused to take any notice 
of the Ambassador until Philip entreated her to think 
only of their nephew and of the harmony which ought to 
exist between them, must have convinced Fleury that she 
was still far too hostile to France to entertain such a 
proposition. Indeed, shortly afterwards, the two nations 
were once more on the verge of war. 

When, however, in 1732, Elizabeth Farnese, after so 
many years of intrigue, won her first substantial triumph, 

1 M&moires, July 15, 1742. 


K^u dcN^apl&f e(rcU J'uilc . 
iillDliililllllUJlillii iilllll 

Don Carlos, King of the Two Sicilies (afterwards 
Carlos III., King of Spain) 

From an engraving by Roy, after the painting by Delle Piane 

■_ < C c c 


and Don Carlos took possession of the duchies of Parma 
and Piacenza, the hopes of the Duchesse d'Orleans and her 
daughter revived. 

The Marquis de Bissy, the French resident at Parma, 
was instructed to sound the inclinations of that Court in 
regard to the project so unhappily frustrated in 1725, 
and circumstances seemed to augur well for its eventual 
realisation. He received a confidential communication 
from the Duke of Parma's chief physician, to the effect 
that the prince had not been less faithful to his first love 
than she to him ; that he cherished as a precious souvenir 
of the princess a ring which she had given him at Madrid, 
and might often be seen contemplating it with tears in 
his eyes, and that, in short, Mile, de Beaujolais was " the 
occupation of his days and the torment of his nights." l 

Encouraged by this intelligence, Bissy approached Don 
Carlos himself, who informed him that the marriage was 
the dearest wish of his heart, and was, moreover, desired 
by all the Spaniards who had accompanied him to Parma. 
And he urged the Minister to use every endeavour to 
conclude the matter with the least possible delay. 

Unhappily, the young prince was not yet free to dis- 
pose of his hand ; and the aged Minister who directed 
the policy of France and in whom the "Termagant of 
Spain " had inspired a veritable dread, feared that the 
least indication of such negotiations would appear to that 
jealous and vindictive princess as an enterprise against 
her authority. He therefore professed himself unable to 
take any steps to further the union of these true lovers, 
until he could feel assured of meeting with no active oppo- 
sition on the side of Spain, and recommended to Bissy 

1 Lemontey. 


an extreme reserve in regard to confidences of this 

In the following year, the War of the Polish Succession 
broke out, which was to bring to Don Carlos the Kingdom 
of the Two Sicilies. Mile, de Beaujolais did not live to see 
that day. At the end of April 1734, she was attacked by 
measles — in those days a malady very much dreaded — 
to which she succumbed on the 21st of the following month, 
to the great regret of both the Court and the public. 
" Everybody is in tears, and I also," writes Mathieu 
Marais to his friend, the President Bouhier ; " she was a 
charming princess." 

Born on December 18, 1714, Philippine Elisabeth 
d'Orleans had not yet completed her twentieth year. 


Unfortunate effect of the Regent's death upon the situation of the 
Princess of Modena — Her discreet conduct — Arrangement with her 
father-in-law, who, however, continues to subject her to all kinds 
of petty humiliations — Death of her little son — The prince and 
princess make their way to Strasbourg, in the hope of being per- 
mitted to enter France ; but are compelled to return to Italy — 
Intolerable situation — Interference of the French Government — 
New arrangement with the Duke, which the latter again contrives 
to evade — Cruel indifference of the Duchesse d'Orleans to her 
daughter's unhappy lot — Invasion of the duchy of Modena — The 
prince conies to Paris, but his wife, after reaching Lyons, is ordered 
to return to Italy — She at length secures authorisation to visit Paris, 
on condition that she preserves a strict incognito — Odious behaviour 
of the Palais-Royal towards her — Quarrel with the Queen of Spain — 
Repeated endeavours of her mother and brother to secure an order 
for her departure — Death of Duke Rinaldo and accession of Fran- 
cesco d'Este — The Duchess of Modena remains in Paris — Her de- 
parture for Italy. 

CONTRARY to what might have been anticipated, 
the birth of a son to the Prince and Princess of 
Modena was far from bringing about a reconciliation 
between them and Duke Rinaldo. The old gentleman, 
indeed, received the news with comparative indifference, 
and, though he offered to pay a visit of felicitation to his 
daughter-in-law, it was on conditions so humiliating to 
the latter and her husband that Francesco d'Este, be- 
lieving that his future was now assured, declined the 

A few weeks afterwards came the death of the Regent, 
an event which not only dissipated all the princess's hopes 
of being permitted to return to France, but deprived her 



of her only effectual protection against the tyranny of her 
father-in-law. Her despair was such that for more than a 
week she was absolutely prostrated, and her physicians 
considered it advisable to bleed her ; and for some time 
afterwards she continued in a state of the most profound 
dejection. One day, she inquired of Colibeaux if he were 
continuing his reports to France, and, on his answering in 
the affirmative, burst into tears and exclaimed : " Cease 
writing ; my father is no more ; and I now count for 

Her situation, indeed, had changed altogether for the 
worse. The Due de Bourbon, who had become Prime 
Minister on the death of the Regent, was, as we know, the 
implacable enemy of the House of Orleans, and his 
accession to power meant the loss of her family's political 
importance and her own abandonment. This, indeed, was 
soon apparent. Aware that there was now little prospect 
of the French Government intervening on behalf of his 
daughter-in-law, the Duke of Modena became more and 
more exacting ; while the prince actually proposed to 
his wife to enter a convent, in order to leave him at liberty 
to retire to Vienna, where a brilliant position in the 
Imperial service had been offered him. 

In the face of these adverse circumstances, it must be 
admitted that Charlotte d' Orleans conducted herself with 
commendable discretion. Knowing that there was now 
nothing to hope for on the side of France, she resolved 
to endeavour to conciliate her father-in-law, and secure 
for herself an establishment in Italy commensurate with 
her rank, and where she might be enabled to live in 
comfort and tranquillity. Thanks to the intervention of 
the Cardinal de Rohan, a kind of treaty was finally signed 


with the Duke, whereby the latter agreed to purchase for 
the princess a country-house near Reggio, where she was 
to reside in future, with permission to pay five visits a year 
to Modena : at Easter, at Christinas, and on the birthdays 
of the Duke, her husband and herself. The expense of 
these visits was to be borne by the Duke, and she also 
secured " the privilege of writing to him without previous 
permission," which had been at first refused (April 1724), 

Unfortunately, although the attitude of the princess 
towards her father-in-law was quite irreproachable, the 
Duke continued to subject her to all kinds of petty 
humiliations; and in July the princess, in despair, 
appealed to the French Government, through the Cardinal 
de Rohan, for permission to visit France. 

The request was not officially refused, but conditions 
were attached to her visit which made its realisation 
altogether impossible, such as the permission of the Duke 
of Modena, and an undertaking from him to defray all 
the expenses of the journey and of her stay in France ; 
and the only result of her appeal was to exasperate the 
Duke, who proceeded to deprive her of her horses and 
carriages, evidently with the intention of preventing her 
from visiting Modena, and to reduce her pension by more 
than one half. 

In these proceedings he was abetted by his eldest son, 
who appears to have been hopeful that this continuous 
persecution would drive the princess into committing 
some act of folly, which would justify them in relegating 
her to a convent. His expectation was not gratified, for 
Charlotte d'Orleans testified under these trying con- 
ditions a really admirable resignation ; while Colibeaux 
addressed the most touching appeals on her behalf to 


Versailles, declaring that "it was a spectacle worthy of 
compassion to see a princess brought up at the Palais- 
Royal, and who had the honour of being aunt of the 
greatest King in the world, reduced to a Court in which 
everything was lacking." 

At length, the Due de Bourbon decided that the 
humiliating situation of the princess was calculated to 
injure the prestige of France in the eyes of Europe, and at 
the beginning of October he addressed a remonstrance to 
the Duke of Modena. His intervention, however, does 
not appear to have produced much effect. 

At the beginning of the following summer, the princess's 
little son died. This sad event put an end to the com- 
parative harmony which existed between Francesco 
d'Este and his father, who once more began intriguing 
to get Prince Frederico declared heir to the throne ; and, 
at the same time, brought about a reconciliation between 
the prince and princess. By September, the old Duke 
had contrived to render their situation so intolerable 
that they quitted Reggio, and, having assumed the names 
of the Comte and Comtesse de Saint-Felix, made their 
way to Strasbourg, in the hope of being allowed to enter 
France. But, though their friend the Cardinal de Rohan 
warmly espoused their cause with the French Government, 
the Due de Bourbon refused them permission to cross the 
frontier, unless they obtained the consent of the Duke of 
Modena and the Duchesse d'Orleans ; and, after spending 
some weeks at the little Court of Luneville, the truant 
couple returned to Reggio. 

On October 6, 1726, the princess, who, at the beginning 
of the previous year, had given birth to a daughter, 
presented her husband with a son, Ercole Rinaldo, who 


was one day to succeed to the ducal throne of Modena. 
This increase in their family, however, was not followed 
by any augmentation of their income ; indeed, the Duke, 
notwithstanding the stipulations of the contract, had the 
meanness to pay his daughter-in-law's pension, which, 
besides, was greatly in arrears, in Italian liri, much 
inferior in value at this period to the French livre. The 
consequence was that the unfortunate pair found them- 
selves reduced to the most cruel straits and, in the autumn 
of 1728, leaving their children at Reggio, they fled to 
Genoa and threw themselves on the protection of Campre- 
don, the French resident. 

The Court of Versailles, fearful lest, after all, it should 
be obliged to accord an asylum to the princess, this 
time intervened with firmness, and Fleury, who had 
replaced the Due de Bourbon at the head of affairs, 
directed Campredon to proceed to Modena and bring 
the Duke to reason. Campredon obeyed, but the only 
reply that he could at first obtain from the old tyrant 
was an assurance that his son and daughter-in-law 
might return to Reggio, " provided they did not trouble 
his repose." When, however, the envoy assumed a firmer 
tone and threatened him with the displeasure of the 
French Government, he offered to agree to the financial 
concessions demanded of him, on certain conditions, 
which included the dismissal of two of the prince's and 
one of the princess's favourite attendants, on the ground 
that they had incited their master and mistress against 
him ; the immediate return of the fugitives to Reggio 
and their engagement " to no longer trouble his repose," 
which meant that they were not to present themselves 
at Modena, except at his express invitation; and the 


surrender of their little son, with whose education he 
proposed to charge himself. 

The princess at first flatly refused to accept these 
conditions, but eventually a sort of compromise was 
arrived at, and at the beginning of September 1729 she 
and her husband returned to Reggio. But the old Duke 
as usual proceeded to evade his engagements, and the 
situation of the unfortunate couple remained as intoler- 
able as ever. 

We may here observe that, whatever faults the princess 
may have committed before her marriage, no breath of 
scandal had tarnished her reputation since, and she had 
certainly done nothing to deserve the humiliating treat- 
ment to which she was subjected. Nor can one blame too 
severely the profound indifference shown by the Duchesse 
d'Orleans to her daughter's unhappy lot. If the ordinary 
sentiments of a mother were not to be expected from the 
duchess, one would at least have thought that she would 
have been concerned to defend the honour of a person 
so nearly related to her. But her only anxiety seems to 
have been to prevent the unfortunate princess finding an 
asylum in France ; and when, at the beginning of 1730, 
the latter addressed to her mother a reproachful, though 
perfectly respectful, letter, pointing out how persistently 
she had denied her the sympathy to which she was 
entitled, and how entirely she had misjudged her motives 
in seeking authorisation to come to France, it remained 

Towards the end of 1733, events afforded Charlotte 
d'Orleans the opportunity of realising the dream she had 
so long cherished. The War of the Polish Succession 
broke out, and the Duke of Modena, notwithstanding 


that he had hastened to declare himself neutral, saw his 
dominions occupied by foreign armies. He retired to 
Bologna, to await more tranquil times ; while his eldest son 
set out for Paris. The princess followed him, but she did 
not dare to venture farther than Lyons, and it was agreed 
between her and her husband that she should remain 
there until he had succeeded in procuring from the 
Government permission for her to join him. But Francesco 
d'Este allowed himself to be talked over by the Duchesse 
d'Orleans and her son, who wished at all costs to keep 
the princess at a distance, and, instead of furthering his 
wife's wishes, he wrote advising her to remain where she 

The princess, after writing a very sharp letter to her 
husband, appealed to Fleury, and received in reply a 
formal order to return to Italy and take up her residence 
with Campredon at the French Legation at Genoa, which 
she did not dare to disobey. However, towards the end 
of the following summer, a rumour spread that Duke 
Rinaldo and his eldest son, notwithstanding their pro- 
fessed neutrality, were making common cause with the 
Imperialists ; and the Duke, much alarmed by this report, 
as matters were now going very badly with Austria, begged 
his daughter-in-law to go and plead his cause at the Court 
of France. The princess eagerly consented, and embark- 
ing at Leghorn on the galley of her half-brother, the 
Chevalier d'Orleans, landed in the last days of September 
at Marseilles. 

Her fond relatives at the Palais-Royal were terribly 
alarmed on learning of her approach, and entreated the 
Government to stop her, with the result that, when she 
arrived at Aix, she was met by one Boisgnorel, an exempt 


of the Gardes du Corps, bearing an order from the King 
couched in the following terms : 

" My aunt, having learned that you have arrived at 
Marseilles without my permission, and not judging it 
opportune, for important considerations, that you should 
approach nearer Paris than the town of Lyons, I write you 
this letter to tell you that you are not to go farther until 
I inform you more particularly of my will." * 

At Lyons, the princess remained for more than four 
months, when, thanks to the efforts of the Prince of 
Modena, 2 and on the understanding that she should not 
remain in Paris without her husband, that she should 
maintain a strict incognito, and should take her departure 
at the first request to do so, her mother and brother 
withdrew their opposition, and the royal interdict was 

On receiving this joyful news, Charlotte d'Orleans lost 
no time in leaving Lyons, and on March 12 she arrived in 
Paris, after an absence of nearly fifteen years. But, 
though she had reached the end of her desires, she was 
not at the end of her trials and humiliations. With the 
exception of her kind-hearted cousin, Mile, de la Roche- 
sur-Yon, who met her at the last stage before reaching 
Paris, no one troubled to come and welcome her, and 

1 Archives des Affaires Etrangeres, published by Barthelemy. 

2 If we are to believe the Melanges of Boisjourdain, Francesco d'Este 
only succeeded in overcoming the opposition of the Due d'Orleans by 
resorting to a ruse. Aware that the duke, after a somewhat irregular 
youth, had become a devot of the most rigorous type, he intimated to 
him that he could not answer for his fidelity to the princess if they 
were any longer kept apart, and pretended to make advances to a 
certain Mile. Carlon, of the Opera, who, being a party to the deception, 
received them with much apparent favour. Whereupon the Due 
d'Orleans " consented to the visit of his sister, in order to save his 
brother-in-law from sin." 


when she alighted at the Palais-Royal, the reception she 
received from her mother and brother was of the most 
frigid description. " They embraced her coldly, talked 
about indifferent matters, yawned, and at the end of 
half-an-hour of ennui they separated, without there having 
been any question of offering her either accommodation 
or refreshment. 1 

As her relatives had declined to offer her the hospitality 
of the Palais-Royal, the princess went to live with her 
husband at the Hotel de Luynes, in the Rue du Colombier, 
not far from the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, from 
which, however, they shortly afterwards removed to the 
Hotel de Lyon, in the Rue des Petits-Champs, which was, 
of course, much nearer the Palais-Royal. 

The Due d'Orleans is said to have sent his sister 25,000 
ecus to defray the cost of her stay in Paris, but in other 
respects both he and his mother behaved in the most 
odious way towards her, and seemed resolved to spare 
her no mortification. They endeavoured to prevent her 
from being received by the Queen, on the ground that it 
would afford her the means of raising the incognito which 
she had promised to maintain ; they persuaded the King 
to write to her, forbidding her absolutely to discuss the 
political situation in Italy with the Ministers, and begged 
Fleury to speak to her in such a manner " as to leave her 
no hope of charging herself with any negotiations " ; and, 
some days after her arrival, the duke instructed the cure 
of Saint-Paul, his confessor and almoner, to inform the 
poor people among whom he was accustomed to distribute 
the prince's alms that, so long as the Princess of Modena 
remained in Paris at the expense of his Royal Highness, 

1 Boisjourdain, Mdlanges. 


they must expect nothing more from him. This mean 
action naturally served to excite the populace against 
the unfortunate lady ; and the fact that she was not lodged 
at the Palais-Royal and was compelled to go about in a 
modest equipage hired from a livery-stable, since her 
brother had refused to lend her any of his own carriages, 
created a most unfortunate impression. Her servants 
were insulted in the streets, and one evening, when leaving 
the Opera, she herself was subjected to the most gross 
indignity, the rabble bawling out to her coachman to drive 
her back to Modena, where she might accord her father- 
in-law the favours which she had once granted to her 
father in Paris. 1 

At the end of May 1735, Francesco d'Este announced 
that urgent affairs recalled him to Italy; but, since he 
proposed to visit Holland and England first, he expressed 
the hope that his wife would be permitted to remain in 
France until he could return for her. The Due d'Orleans 
immediately wrote to Fleury, begging him to compel his 
sister to leave Paris and retire to some town near the 
frontier, " until it might please the prince to come and 
fetch her." But Charlotte d'Orleans had not wasted her 
time since her arrival in Paris. She was still a very 
attractive woman," even after fifteen years of marriage " ; 2 
she knew how to make the most of her charms, and, 
moreover, the discretion with which she had conducted 
herself had impressed the Ministers very favourably. 
Accordingly, notwithstanding the resistance of the Palais- 
Royal, Louis XV. gave her permission to remain in Paris, 
on condition, however, that she should retire to the 
Val-de-Grace and not leave it without express permis- 

1 Boisjourdain. a Ibid. 


sion. At the request of her husband, this restriction on 
her liberty was subsequently withdrawn, though she 
was forbidden to visit the theatres or to approach the 

Francesco d'Este returned at the beginning of 1736 ; 
but he was in no hurry to leave Paris, and he and his wife 
settled down again at the Hotel de Lyon, to the intense 
disgust of the Orleans family. In the spring, a violent 
quarrel took place between the princess and her sister, the 
Queen of Spain, over a question of ceremonial. On Palm 
Sunday, both happened to visit the Jesuit Church in the 
Rue Saint-Antome, to hear a sermon by Pere Neuville, 
a preacher of great celebrity. The Fathers sent a carpet 
to the princess's tribune, but her loving sister pretended 
that she had no right to one in her presence, and des- 
patched an officer of her guards to order her to remove it. 
This she refused to do, alleging that she owed this respect 
only to the Queen of France. The widow of Luis I. was 
furious, and the Due d'Orleans warmly espoused her cause, 
and wrote to Fleury suggesting that this was " a fine 
opportunity to order the Princess of Modena to retire, if 
not to Italy, at least into some provincial town." He 
added that his mother was of the same opinion. 

Fortunately for the princess, she had the prudence to 
obey the orders of Louis XV. to apologize to her sister, or, 
at any rate, she sent Francesco d'Este to make her 
excuses ; and the matter was allowed to drop. The quarrel 
was revived a few weeks later, when her coachman, either 
by her orders or on his own initiative, declined to stop 
his carriage to permit that of the Queen of Spain to pass. 
The Due d'Orleans, unwilling to allow any opportunity of 
humiliating his elder sister to escape him, demanded that 


the King should order her to go in person to apologize to 
the outraged Queen ; but, on the princess representing 
that the affront was an accident, she was permitted to 
send a letter of regret instead. 

On September 30 of that year, Charlotte d'Orleans 
gave birth to a daughter. The approach of this interesting 
event had naturally furnished her with an excellent 
pretext for postponing her departure ; but no sooner was 
her health re-established than the Due d'Orleans renewed 
his efforts to secure an order for her to leave Paris. 
Fleury, however, who sympathised with the princess, 
and secretly sustained her against the malice of her 
family, acceded to her request to be permitted to remain 
until the return of her husband from Hungary, whither 
he was about to proceed to take command of the artillery 
of the Imperialist army operating against the Turks. 

On October 26, 1737, Duke Rinaldo, whom the con- 
clusion of peace between the belligerent Powers in the 
previous spring had enabled to return to his capital, died, 
and Francesco d'Este became Duke of Modena. The 
fact that her husband was now a sovereign prince did not, 
however, cause Charlotte d'Orleans to be treated with any 
more consideration by the Court of France ; and, thanks 
to the opposition of her brother, with whom she was now 
engaged in an acrimonious lawsuit over some disputed 
family property, the gates of Versailles still remained 
closed to her. However, she appears to have preferred 
the affronts to which she had to submit in Paris to the 
pleasures of domination at Modena, and it was not until 
the end of June 1739 that she set out for Italy. For 
some time past she had not been on speaking terms with 
her relatives at the Palais-Royal, and though Fleury 


begged her, for form's sake, to pay them a farewell visit, 
she refused. " I have the honour to tell your Eminence," 
she writes, " that if, after the unworthy manner in which 
the Duke of Modena has seen me treated by my family, 
he were to perceive that, at the last moment, I had all 
the imaginable baseness to visit them again, it would 
teach him that I required to be guided by blows from a 
cudgel." x 

1 Lemontey. 

2 A 


The death of the Regent deprives the Abbess of Chelles of her influence 
in ecclesiastical matters — She continues, however, her efforts on 
behalf of the Jansenists — She issues a manifesto, which is sup- 
pressed by a decree of the Council — Her adventure with the Cardinal 
de Bissy — She is forbidden to leave her convent — She resigns her 
abbey, and retires to the priory of the Benedictines of la Madeleine 
du Trainel — Piety of her last years — Her Reflexions morales sur le 
Nouveau Testament — Her death. 

THE death of the Regent was a terrible blow to the 
Abbess of Chelles. Not only did she lose a kind 
and indulgent father, to whom she was warmly attached, 
but she saw disappear, at the same moment, the influence 
which she had derived from her near relationship to the 
head of the State. " The authority which his affection 
for me had given me," she wrote, " was annihilated with 
him. His Ministers, formerly so submissive to his orders, 
so assiduous in paying their court to me, resumed their 
natural pride. My family itself abandoned me on a slight 
pretext. I arrived at the Val-de-Grace ; what a differ- 
ence for a soul as vain as mine ! My rooms, which, in my 
father's lifetime, were always full of people, were empty. 
The thousands of petitions and memoirs which it used to 
please my vanity to receive had changed into the ordinary 
demands of the poor. I returned to my abbey, rage in 
my heart, and very determined to console myself by 
every means that I could find. This unhappy incident 
has been the cause of all the faults that I have com- 



mitted from the age of twenty-five up to that of 
thirty-three." 1 

Nevertheless, she continued her efforts on behalf of the 
Jansenists, more persecuted than ever after Fleury had 
replaced the Due de Bourbon as First Minister, and 
sheltered many of them at the Val-de-Grace, as she had 
previously done at Chelles. The Jesuits summoned to 
their aid the Duchesse d'Orleans, an ardent Molinist, and 
persuaded her to represent to her daughter the iniquity 
of her conduct ; but the abbess bitterly resented the 
interference of her mother, and the only result was another 
violent quarrel between the two princesses. The Jesuits 
thereupon caused a rumour to be propagated that Mile. 
d'Orleans had repented of her errors and returned to the 
true fold, and " all Paris was persuaded of it." 2 The 
abbess replied by a species of manifesto, under the title of 
Lettrc de S.A .R. Mme. d'Orleans, abbesse de Chelles, a une de 
ses amies, " full of errors which the Church has long 
condemned, and expressions contrary to the spirit of 
submission which the monastic state which she has em- 
braced obliges her to observe." 3 The Council issued a 
decree directing that all copies of this manifesto should be 
collected and destroyed by the police, but, at the same 
time, in order to spare the feelings of the House of Orleans, 
declared its opinion that the condemned letter was not 
the work of the princess, on the ground that she was there- 
in styled " Royal Highness," whereas her proper appella- 
tion was " Most Serene Highness." 

Soon after this, Mile. d'Orleans had an adventure with 

1 MSS. of Mile. d'Orleans, formerly in the library of M. Leber, pub- 
lished by Barthelemy. 

- Soulavie, Memoir es du due de Richelieu. 
8 Marais. 


the Cardinal de Bissy, Bishop of Meaux, one of the most 
bitter persecutors of the Jansenists, which occasioned a 
great deal of talk. Soulavie gives the following account 
of this affair : 

" Madame de Rohan, Abbess of Hyeres, 1 used to visit 
Madame de Chelles, who, in her turn, went to visit her. 
One day, the Cardinal de Bissy, chief of the Molinist 
party, came to see Madame de Rohan, and asked her 
what was the conduct of her community in relation to 
the Bull [Unigenitus]. The latter replied that she had only 
one convert Sister who was unwilling to obey the Bull. 
Bissy asked that she should be sent for, and Madame de 
Rohan sent for Madame d'Orleans, who was not recog- 
nised, as she had assumed the dress of a convert. 

" Bissy spoke of submission, and the Abbess of Chelles 
spoke to him of appeal and reappeal. The cardinal, 
becoming angry, threatened to make her do penance ; 
and the Sister, in a very assured tone, related to him the 
history of his life, and told him that he was only playing 
his present role through ambition. Fury seized the 
astonished cardinal, who told the convert Sister that she 
was unaware that he was a prince of the Church ; but 
the Sister, who possessed the gift of eloquence, said so 
much that she disconcerted him. Madame de Rohan, 
who was listening to this conversation, began to laugh, 
and Bissy, observing more closely the countenance of the 
convert Sister, recognised Madame d'Orleans. Thereupon 
he rose from his chair, and offered her the most humble 
apologies ; but the princess turned her back upon him, 
and said : ' Profit by this lesson ! ' The cardinal, deeply 

1 This is an error. Madame de Rohan was at this time Abbess of 


mortified, had no longer any wish to dine with Madame 
de Rohan who had invited him, together with Madame 
de Chelles ; and left the convent murmuring." 1 

Mathieu Marais gives a less piquant version, which, 
however, is probably the more correct. 

'•' The princess is badly advised. She is a friend of the 
Abbess of Jouarre, whom she visited at Jouarre, after 
which they came together to Paris, to a convent in the 
Faubourg Saint- Antoine. The Cardinal de Bissy, Bishop 
of Meaux, went to visit Madame de Jouarre, who belongs 
to his diocese. The princess concealed herself, in order 
to listen to their conversation, in which the cardinal 
reproached the abbess with her intimacy with Madame 
de Chelles, who was a mad-brain. Upon that she emerged 
from her hiding-place, and had a wrangle with the 
cardinal, who took back his words and fled." 

And Marais adds: "Subsequently, the princess 
received an order from a high quarter to return to her 
abbey and not to leave it." 

After this disgrace, we hear very little of Mile. d'Or- 
leans. In October 1734 she resigned her abbey in favour 
of Anne de Clermont-Gessen, one of its former nuns, who 
had been for some years superior of the monastery of 
Beaurepaire, near Vienne, and retired to the priory of the 
Benedictines of la Madeleine du Trainel, transferred since 
1644 to the Rue de Charonne in Paris. The prioress, Lucie 
d'Artagnan, a niece of the Marechal de Montesquiou, 
had been one of her particular friends at the Val-de- 
Grace, and owed her promotion to the good offices of the 

Here, in a spacious apartment which the prioress had 

1 Memoires du due de Richelieu. 


prepared for her, Adelaide d'Orleans passed the remainder 
of her life, which was consecrated to prayer, study, and 
works of charity. Her conversion was sincere and 
complete, and is attested by both the sceptical Duclos 
and the severe Saint-Simon. " Madame de Chelles," 
says the latter, " gradually returned to devotion and 
regularity, and, although en ftrincesse, lived a life which 
grew more and more edifying, up to the time of her death, 
which did not occur until several years later, in the 
same convent, without her having quitted it." 

It was here that Louis Racine addressed to her these 
touching verses beginning : 

" Plaisirs, beaute, jeunesse, honneur, gloire, puissance, 
Ambitieux espoir que permet la naissance, 
Tout au pied de FAgneau fut par elle immoleV' 

And it was here that, in all probability, she composed 
her Examen de conscience de I'abbesse de Chelles, which, 
in the opinion of Lescure, 1 is less a self-examination, 
with her life and her recollections as its theme, than a 
continuation of a very remarkable manuscript entitled : 
Reflexions morales sur le Nouveau Testament, d I' usage 
de Madame Louise- Adelaide d'Orleans, abbesse de Chelles, 
which was found at the time of the Revolution in the 
possession of a family in the environs of Chelles, and 
passed about the middle of the last century into that of 
Leon Techener, who communicated its contents to the 
Baron Ernouf, Edward Barthelemy, Lescure, and other 
bibliophiles. The first-named published a very interesting 
notice upon it in the Bulletin du Bibliophile for the year 
1859 ; Barthelemy cites a number of passages in his work 
on the daughters of the Regent, and Lescure has made 

1 Les Confessions de I'abbesse de Chelles. 


extensive use of it in writing his pseudo-autobiography, 
les Confessions dc Vabbcssc dc Chclles, mentioned else- 
where. All three are of opinion that it is not only a 
wonderful revelation of the workings of a human soul, 
but a document of quite extraordinary literary merit, 
and that the beauty of some of the reflexions will bear 
comparison with anything of the kind to be found in 
modern literature. 

The Abbess of Chelles — for she preserved that title 
up to the last — died of smallpox on February 19, 1743, 
in her forty-fifth year. 


Louise Diane d'Orleans, Mile, de Chartres, youngest daughter of the 
Regent — Her birth — Her marriage with the Prince de Conti — Dis- 
pute between the unmarried Princesses of the Blood, on the question 
of bearing the train of her mantle — A delicate conversation — Birth 
of a son — Death of the princess — " Joj^ous life " of the Duchess of 
Modena, which, however, is soon interrupted by the outbreak of 
the War of the Austrian Succession — The Duchess secures author- 
isation to return to France, where she is now treated with all the 
honours due to her rank — Her enviable situation at Versailles — 
She marries her eldest daughter to the Due de Penthievre — She 
occupies herself with her husband's interests — Francesco d'Este, 
disgusted with his treatment by France, throws himself into the 
arms of Austria — The Duchess falls into disgrace at Versailles — 
She returns to Italy — Her death. 

IF we may say of princesses, as of nations, that those 
are the happiest who have no history, then Louise 
Diane d'Orleans, the youngest of the Regent's daughters, 
ought to have been the happiest of all, for few facts of 
any interest concerning her are to be found in the memoirs 
and correspondence of her contemporaries. It is true 
that she was cut off in the flower of her youth — when she 
was scarcely twenty years old — but before reaching that 
age each of her sisters had, as we have seen, contrived to 
make in one way or another a considerable stir in the 

This princess, who took the name of Mile, de Chartres, 
which had been borne by two of her elder sisters, the 
Duchesse de Berry and the Abbess of Chelles, made her 
appearance upon the scene on July 7, 1716. Her arrival 
does not appear to have been particularly welcome, for 

the House of Orleans had already a plethora of daughters. 



" At the moment when I concluded my letter to the 
Princess of Wales," writes Madame, " they came to 
announce to me that Madame d'Orleans was in labour. 
It was just eleven o'clock when my carriage was ready, 
and at a quarter to one I entered the ante-chamber, and 
was told in a low voice : ' Her Royal Highness was safely 
brought to bed an hour ago.' But this was said in so 
sad a tone that I did not doubt that Madame d'Orleans 
had brought into the world a seventh daughter, and that 
unfortunately is what has happened." 

Mile, de Chartres, if we are to believe her grandmother, 
does not appear to have been very attractive in her 
infancy. " She is not ugly," writes Madame, " but she 
is peevish and sulky; as soon as one looks at her she 
begins to cry." However, if she was an unattractive 
child, she grew into a very pretty and amiable girl, and 
it is sad to reflect that the only two of the Regent's 
daughters who were afforded, so to speak, a fair start 
in life, should both have died at so early an age. 

On January 22, 1732, the young princess was married to 
Louis Francois de Bourbon, Prince de Conti, who was a 
few months younger than herself. The marriage was the 
occasion of an acrimonious dispute between the un- 
married Princesses of the Blood, on the question of 
which of them was to support the train of the bride's 
mantle, a duty which, though supposed to be an honour, 
was apparently regarded by them as a menial service. 
It was only ended by the Dowager-Princesse de Conti 
announcing herself ready to carry the train of her 
daughter-in-law's mantle herself, if none of these haughty 
damsels were willing to do so. Upon which Mile, de Sens 
reluctantly consented to demean herself. 


After the ceremony, we are told, the dowager suggested 
to the Duchesse d'Orleans that, having regard to the 
youth of the happy pair, it would be inadvisable to permit 
them to pass more than a part of the wedding-night 
together. To which the Duchess replied that " from the 
day of the marriage, she had promised not to interfere 
in anything which concerned Mile, de Chartres ; and that 
it was her mother-in-law's affair entirely." 

On September i, 1734, the Princesse de Conti gave birth 
to a son, who in 1755 married his cousin, Marie Fortunee 
d'Este, third daughter of the Duke and Duchess of 
Modena. Two years after the birth of her little boy, the 
young princess died at the magnificent chateau of the 
Contis at Issy. Mile, de Clermont, one of the sisters of the 
Due de Bourbon, was nominated by the Queen to go to 
Issy as her representative, and sprinkle holy water upon 
the body of the deceased ; and the Due de Luynes con- 
siders it necessary to devote nearly four pages of his 
journal to an account of this visit, and to a breach of eti- 
quette of which Mile, de Clermont was guilty, and which 
appears to have greatly disturbed the worthy nobleman. 

The Prince de Conti did not marry again ; in fact, he 
entered the Order of Malta, and became in 1745 Grand 
Prior of France. He did not, however, abjure feminine 
society, and his gallantries were for many years the 
talk of Paris. Happily, he distinguished himself also in 
another direction, and was one of the ablest soldiers 
whom France produced in the eighteenth century. He 
served with distinction in the War of the Polish Suc- 
cession, and, when scarcely more than a boy, had risen, 
by sheer merit, to the rank of lieutenant-general ; and in 
that of the Austrian Succession he commanded French 

Louisk Diane d'Orleans (Mi. i.e. de Chartres), 
Princesse de Conti 

From the painting by Pierre Gobert, at Versailles 
(Photo by W. A. Manse!! & Co.) 



armies with conspicuous success in Italy and Germany. 
But in the Seven Years' War, when France stood so 
sorely in need of an able general, the hatred of Madame 
de Pompadour prevented him from being employed in 
any military capacity ; and he was condemned to remain 
idle at the Court, while the Soubises and Clermonts were 
leading the troops which should have been entrusted to 
him to defeat and humiliation. 

The Prince de Conti died in 1776, in his sixtieth year. 

The Duchess of Modena outlived all her sisters. For a 
year or two after her return to Italy she appears to have 
led a very agreeable existence, and to have transformed 
completely the little Court of Modena, which, from being 
one of the dullest and most parsimonious, became one 
of the gayest and most extravagant in Europe. The 
President de Brosses, who visited Modena during the 
carnival of 1740, found the duchess " living the most 
joyous life possible." She plays biribi all night, sups at 
six o'clock in the morning, goes to bed at eight, and gets 
up at five o'clock in the afternoon." She had established 
an excellent French opera in the town, with a remarkably 
fine corps de ballet, of which she was extremely proud ; 
while the Duke had made extensive improvements at the 
palace, including a hall which was an exact copy of that 
of the Tuileries. He was also an enthusiastic collector 
of pictures, and his gallery promised to become one of 
the finest in Italy. The ducal pair gave the most splendid 
fetes, and practised the most prodigal hospitality. On 
Shrove Tuesday 1740, after the opera was over, they 
entertained the company, the musicians of the orchestra, 
and the whole audience, to a supper in the theatre, and 


the Court to another at the Ridotti. Then the Court 
returned to the Opera-house, which, in the meantime, 
had been converted into a ballroom, while at either end 
of the salle apartments had been prepared for faro and 
lansquenet ; and dancing and gambling went on until far 
into the next day. 

The president describes the duchess as " still a rather 
pretty woman ; very stout, with a rather high colour, 
and a majestic air," and adds that " she is getting more 
and more to resemble the late Regent, her father." 

But this life of pleasure did not last long. The death 
in 1741 of the Emperor Charles VI. was followed by 
the War of the Austrian Succession. Francesco d'Este 
desired to remain neutral ; but Charles Emmanuel of 
Sardinia advanced to the Modenese frontier, called upon 
him to decide on which side he would declare himself, 
and, while he still hesitated, invaded his dominions. 
The duke and duchess, leaving their children at Sassuolo, 
where Charles Emmanuel had consented to respect their 
liberty, retired to Venice ; and Francesco, having decided 
to embrace the cause of the Allies, solicited and obtained 
from Philip V. the command of the Spanish troops in 
Italy. His wife then demanded permission to come to 
Paris, and though, owing to the opposition of the 
Orleans family, this request was at first refused, her 
old lover Richelieu interested himself on her behalf 
and persuaded his friend, the Duchesse de Chateauroux, 
Louis XV. 's maitresse en litre, to plead her cause with 
the King. The favourite's intervention proved successful, 
and the Duchess of Modena not only received the per- 
mission solicited, but was accorded, on her arrival, all the 
honours due to her rank. 


The princess did not fail to pay assiduous court to 
Madame de Chateauroux, and the friendship of that lady 
assured her quite an enviable position at Versailles. The 
death of the mistress at the end of 1744 affected it but 
little, since Charlotte d'Orleans had succeeded in marrying 
her eldest daughter to the young Due de Penthievre, 
son of the Comte de Toulouse, and had, moreover, con- 
ducted herself with admirable discretion, making useful 
friends whenever the opportunity presented itself and 
giving offence to no one. She occupied herself, too, 
unceasingly with her husband's interests, and it was 
certainly not due to any lack of effort on her part that 
at the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle the Duke had to be 
content with the restoration of his States, without 
receiving any indemnity for the losses he had sustained. 

When peace again reigned in Italy, the Duchess did 
not return thither, infinitely preferring the gaiety and 
splendour of Versailles, where she had been allotted a 
suite of apartments in the chateau, to residence at a 
little Court now so impoverished by the war as to be 
unable to offer her any of her former diversions. Had 
she done so, she might possibly have kept her husband 
faithful to France. As it was, the Duke, deeply chagrined 
at seeing his faithful services so poorly recompensed, 
decided to accept the very flattering offers he received 
from Vienna ; and in 1753 married his daughter Beatrix 
to the Archduke Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and 
was nominated acting governor-general of Lombardy 
until the majority of his son-in-law, upon whom this 
dignity had devolved. 

Meanwhile, Francesco d'Este, impatient at the long 
absence of his consort, had summoned her repeatedly to 


return to him, but, on various pretexts, she declined to 
obey. Gradually, however, it became apparent that she 
had outworn her welcome at the French Court ; Louis XV. 
had never cared for her, and in the summer of 1754 she 
had the misfortune to offend the Queen on a point of 
etiquette, for which Marie Leczinska was a great stickler. 
From that time she appears to have fallen into a kind of 
disgrace, and for nearly three years the Due de Luynes, 
the Dangeau of those times, does not once mention 
her name. 

In November 1755, the duchess married her third 
daughter to the Comte de la Mar die, afterwards Prince 
de Conti. In the spring of the previous year she had lost 
her eldest daughter, the Duchesse de Penthievre, who 
had died in childbed. 

Finally, in 1759, she decided to return to the domestic 
hearth, where she found that her husband, having 
apparently abandoned all hope of seeing her again, had 
found consolation in the society of the Marchesa Simonetti, 
a widow of sixty. The duchess, feeling doubtless that she 
was responsible for this romance, was reluctant to in- 
terrupt it ; and remained as little as possible in Modena, 
preferring to travel about in search of distraction. It was, 
however, during one of her brief sojourns at her husband's 
Court that she was seized with a sudden illness, which ter- 
minated fatally on January 19, 1761. Towards the end of 
her life she is said to have become very devout. 

Francesco d'Este, who, in the following year, contracted 
a morganatic marriage with the Marchesa Simonetti, 
survived his consort nearly twenty years. He died at 
Varese on February 23, 17S0. 


Alberoni, Cardinal, 214, 216, 292 
Albret, Due d', 157 
Albret, Duchesse d\ 127 
Alencon, Due d', 89 
Altamira, Duquesa de, 314, 326 
Amboise, Marquise de Clermont, 

d', 105 
Ana Victoria (Infanta of Spam), 

280 et sqq., 302, 332-3 
Anjou, Due d', 44 
Antin, Marquis d', 88 
Arco, Duque del, 287 
Argenson, Marquis d', 176, 214, 

Argenson, Madame d' (mistress of 

the Regent), 12, 243 
Armagnae, Louis de Lorraine, 

Comte d', 3 
Armenonville, d' (Siene), 115-16 
Armenonville, Madame d', 116 
Armentieres, Marquis d', 105 
Armstrong, Mr. Edward {cited), 

309, 318 
Arpajon, Madame d', 1 12-13 
Artagnan, Lucie d', 357 
Aumont, Due d', no 
Auvergne, Madame d\ 13, 127-8 
Auvergne, Mile, d', 157 

Bacqueville, Madame de, 233, 
239 et sqq. 

Barthelemy, M. Edouard (cited), 
28, 90, 144, 151. i7 6 -7. 196, 
215, 219, 274, 304, 310-11, 348, 

355. 358 
Baudrillart, Pere [cited), 308, 


Bauregard, 131 
Beauvau, Madame de, 13C-7 
Beauvilliers, Due de, 50 
Berry, Charles, Due de, 84, 87, 
162 ; intrigues which precede 
his marriage with Mademoiselle, 
34 et sqq. ; early life, 43-4 ; 
his ungovernable temper as a 
boy, 44-5 ; his appearance and 
disposition, 45-6 ; his marriage 
to Mademoiselle, 46 et seqq. ; 
his affection for his young wife, 
58-9, 91 ; his estrangement 
from the Due and Duchesse de 
Burgoyne, 63, 70 ; his grief at 
Monseigneur' s death, 68 ; his 
altered position, 71, and the 
rumours concerning the rela- 
tions between the Duchesse de 
Berry and her father, 73 et sqq.; 
his liaison with his wife's 
waiting-woman, 92-3 ; his ill- 
ness and death, 94 et sqq. 
Berry, Marie Louise Elizabeth 
Duchesse de (Mademoiselle), 
her birth, 9, 29 ; her early life, 
30 et sqq. ; her father's singu- 
lar affection for, 31, 274; sups 
with the King, 31-2 ; her 
mother's ambitions for, 34 
et sqq. ; matrimonial schemes 
for, 34 et sqq. ; her marriage 
to the Due de Berry, 46 et sqq. ; 
her personal appearance, 56-7 ; 
Madame's portrait of, 56-7 ; 
her character, 57 et sqq. ; her 
intimacy with the Duchesse de 
Burgogne, 59, 60 ; her gluttony 
and intemperance,'6c— 1, 63, 135; 
her treacherous conduct towards 
the Duchesse de Bourgogne, 61 
et sqq., 69 et sqq. ; her Household 
organised, 63 ; reprimanded by 
the King, 64, 78 et sqq.; and 




Monseigneuy's death, 68 el sqq. ; 
her annoyance at Monseigneur's 
will, 72—3 ; atrocious rumours 
regarding Due d'Orleans and, 
73 et sqq., 129 et sqq.; birth of 
a daughter to, 76-7 ; her treat- 
ment of her mother, 77 et 
sqq., 107 ; and the Duchesse 
de Bourgogne's death, 84 ; 
Madame's remonstrances with, 
85-6 ; precautions to which 
she has to submit during 
pregnancy, 87-S ; cruel dis- 
appointment which she inflicts 
upon the Marechal de Bezons, 
88 ; birth and death of her 
son, 89 ; enjoys the favour 
of Louis XIV., 90-1, 103 et 
sqq., 109 ; her relations with 
her husband, 91 et sqq. ; her 
amours, 94-5, 220 ; and the 
Due de Berry's last illness, 97 ; 
her exaggerated pretence of 
grief at his death, 10 1-2 ; birth 
and death of another daughter, 
102 ; Louis XIV. 's generosity 
towards, 102-3 ; obtains the 
Luxembourg as a residence, 
106-7 ; Madame despairs of, 
108 ; her exorbitant preten- 
sions, 109 et sqq., 166-7 '• ner 
quarrel with the Prince de 
Conti, 111-12 ; her adventure 
in the Luxembourg Gardens, 
112 et sqq. ; disliked by the 
Parisians, 114; insults the 
civic dignitaries of Paris, 
1 1 4-1 5; obtains possession of 
La Muette, n 5-1 6 ; her liaison 
with the Chevalier de Rion, 
117 et sqq. ; her evil genius, 
Madame de Mouchy, 118 et sqq., 
240 ; submits to the tyranny 
of Rion, 121-2, 173 et sqq. ; 
takes an apartment in the 
Carmelite convent in the Fau- 
bourg Saint- Jacques, 124 et 
sqq. ; assists at the orgies of 
the Regent, 128 ; visited by 
Peter the Great, 134 ; her 
quarrel with Mesdames de Cler- 
mont et de Beauvau, 136-7 ; 
gives a magnificent ball in 
honour of the Duke and 
Duchess of Lorraine, 158 et 
sqq. ; reconciliation between 

her and Madame, 161 ; altera- 
tion in her conduct towards 
her mother, 162 ; " greatly 
edifies " the Carmelites, 162 ; 
magnificently entertained by 
the Due de Bourbon at Chan- 
tilly, 163 et sqq. ; her un- 
gracious behaviour, 165 ; re- 
sumes her efforts to usurp the 
honours of a queen, 166-7 '• 
becomes enceinte, 167 ; her 
efforts to conceal her condition, 
168-9 J gives birth to a 
daughter, and is in serious 
danger, 169 ; refused the 
Sacraments, 169 et sqq. ; re- 
covers, 172 ; her secret mar- 
riage with Rion, 173 et sqq. ; 
consideration of the question 
at what date this event took 
place, 175 et sqq. ; leaves Paris 
for Meudon, 180 ; wishes to 
announce her marriage, 181 ; 
has the double tertian fever, 
1 Si ; unable to prevent Rion's 
departure for the army, 183 ; 
painful scenes with her father, 
183 ; gives a supper-party on 
the terrace at Meudon, 184 ; 
falls ill, 184 ; removes to La 
Muette, 184 ; her cruel suffer- 
ings, 185 ; believed to be con- 
valescent, 186; has an alarming 
relapse, 186; her last days, 186 
etsqq. / her death, 191 ; chansons 
upon, 192 ; her obsequies, 193 ; 
her debts, 195 ; her ring-case 
stolen by Madame de Mouchy, 
195 et sqq. 

B6senval (cited), 225, 230 

Bezons, Marechal de, 88 

Bissy, Cardinal de, 356-7 

Bissy, Marquis de, 339 

Bled, M. Victor du (cited), 276 

Blois, Mile. de. See Duchesse 

Boisjourdain (cited), 34S et sqq. 

Bonnivet, Marquis de, 116, 119, 

Bordes, Madame des, 145-6 

Borgia, Cardinal, 288-9 

Bosquetti, Contessa, 256 

Boudin, 65 

Bouhier, President, 340 

Bouillon, Cardinal de, 8 

Bouillon, Chevalier de, 108 



Bourbon-Conde, Due de, 33 

Bourbon-Conde, Duchesse de 
(Madame la Duchesse), 19, 20, 
33 et sqq., 46, 48 et sqq. ; 66, 
73-4, 92, 128, 165, 210 

Bourbon-Cond6, Louis Henry, Due 
de, Prince de Conde {Monsieur 
le Due), 44, 46, 101, 114, 163 
et sqq., 204-5, 210, 314, 322-3, 
332 etsqq., 342 et sqq. 

Bourbon, Mile. de. See Conti 
(Louise Elisabeth de Bourbon- 
Conde), Princesse de 

Bourbon-Conti, Marie Anne, Du- 
chesse de, 165 

Bourgogne, Due de, 31, 34, 37, 
44, 46, 59 et sqq., 66, 69 et sqq., 
83-4, 87, 90, ioi, 290 

Bourgogne, Duchesse de, 31, 34, 
37 et sqq., 46, 49, 59 et sqq., 66, 
69 et sqq., 76, 83-4, 90, 101, 
104-5, 290 

Brancas, Comtc de, 126 

Brancas, Comtesse de, 105 

Brancas, Duchesse de, 155 

Bretagne, Due de, 31, 83-4, 87 

Breteuil (actor), no 

Breteuil, Baron de, 160 

Broglie, 126 

Brosses, President de, 363 

Buvat {cited), 107, 113, 116, 127, 
172, 186-7, !92, 195. 210, 226, 
229, 230, 369, 277 

Canillac, Marquis de, 126 
Carlos, Don, 259, 306 et sqq. 
Carlyle, Thomas, 281 
Carteret, John (Earl Granville), 

309, 321 
Castries, Abbe de, 188, 193 
Castries, Madame de, 24-5 
Castries, M. de, 24-5 
Cauchereau (singer), 142-3, 164 
Caylus, Madame de {cited), 19, 

24, 66 
Caylus, Marquis de, 295 
Chamilly, Archbishop of Tours, 

Francois de, 278 
Charency, M. de, 12 
Charles VI., Emperor, 280, 364 
Charles II., King of Spain, 285 
2 B 

Charolais, Mile, de, 210 et sqq., 

Charolais, Comte de, 206 

Chartres, Ducde. See Philippe II., 
Due d 'Orleans 

Chartres, Due de (son of the 
Regent), 51,93-4, 155, 188, 192, 
228, 281, 284-310, 349 et sqq. 

Chateauroux, Duchesse de, 364-5 

Chateauthiers, Madame de, 7, 155 

Chavigny, Comte de, 246, 254-5, 
257 et sqq., 304, 307-8 

Chelles, Abbey of, 52 et sqq., 138 
et sqq., 145 et sqq., 203, 268 
et sqq. 

Cheverny, Comtesse de, 284 

Chevreuse, Due de, 82 

Chirac, Dr., 97, 189 et sqq. 

Choin, Mile., 36 

Clavereau (actor), no 

Clermont, Madame de, 136-7 

Clermont, Mile, de, 362 

Clermont-Gessin, Anne de, 357 

Coetenfao, Madame de, 105 

Colibeaux, Abbe, 240, 249 et sqq., 
257, 261, 266-7, 3°3. 34 2 > 344 

Comedie-Francaise, the, no et 
sqq., 141, 205, 208 

Conti, Louis Armand de Bour- 
bon, Prince de, 3, 22, 111-12, 
176, 200, 204 

Conti, Louis Francois de Bour- 
bon, Prince de, 361 et sqq. 

Conti, Mile, de, 90 

Conti, Princesse de (Louise de 
Bourbon), 19, 23, 154 

Conti, Princesse de (Louise Elisa- 
beth de Bourbon-Conde), 36 
et sqq., 43, 62, 90 

Coulanges, Abbe de, 314 

Cceur de Balleroy, Marquise de la, 

Coxe, William {cited), 319, 334-5 

Craon, Madame de, 158 


Dangeau, Marquis de {cited), 58, 
81-2, 98 et sqq., 103-4, I 33« 
141, 144, 149, 153, 159, 160, 
162, 166, 172, 181, 183 et sqq., 
188-9, 199, 201, 227, 234, 237, 



Daubenton, Pere (confessor to 
Philip V. of Spain), 281, 303, 

Desgranges, 234-5 

Desmares, Charlotte (mistress of 
the Regent), 12 

Destouches, 308 

Devaize, Mile, de la, 47 

Dombes, Prince de, 141, 144-5, 
150, 205 

Dubois, Abbe (afterwards Cardi- 
nal), 4, n, 14, i 7i 2I4> 216, 221, 
223, 277 et sqq., 308 

Duchevron, 216 

Duclos (cited), 21, 121, 143, 169, 
217, 274 

Dulibois, Colonel, 225 

Durand, no 

Duras, Due de, 310 

Duras, Duchesse de, 310 

Effiat, Marquis d', 126 
Eley, Monseigneur d', 229 
Elizabeth Farnese (Queen of 
Spain), 281, 288-9, 292 et sqq. 
P 3°3 et sqq 312, 323-4, 331, 338 
Lmike, Mile, (mistress of the 
, Regent), 214 
Epinay, Madame d', 154 
Etampes, Duchesse d', 136-7 

Farges, 126 

Fenelon (Archbishop of Cambrai) 

Fleury, Cardinal, 345, 349 et sqq ^ 

Florence, Mile., 12 
Fretteville, Madame de, 54 nq 

271 ° y ' 

Funck-Brentano, M. (cited) 12- 
130 ' ~ J ' 

Gace, Madame de, 127 
Garus, Dr., 189 et sqq. 

Gesvres, Duchesse de, 127 
Grimaldo (Prime Minister of 
Spain), 282, 307, 318 


Hautefort, Marquis d', 135 

Henault, President, 334 

Henri IV., King of France, 15-16 

Huxelles, Madame d' (cited), 52 

James II., King of England, 8-9 
Journal de la Regence (cited), 114, 
Ii6, 134 

La Chaise, no 
La Fare, Marquis de, 126 
La Grange-Chancel, 129 
La Haye (lover of the Duchesse 
de Berry), 94, 98, 107, 116, 174 
La Muette, Chateau of, 115 et sqq., 

I 34-5,^(>2, 18^ et sqq., ig^et sqq'. 
Languet, Abbe, 169, 172 
Lassay, Marquis de, 165 
Laubrussel, Pere de, 303, 313 
Launay, Mile, de, 218 
Lauzun, Due de, 117, 121-2 
Le Blanc, 173 et sqq., 215, 219 
Ledoux, Pere, 152, 270-1, 275-6 
Lemontey (cited), 222, 235, 240, 
2 44. 254, 256, 290, 292, 323! 
_ 330. 336, 353 

Lescure (cited), 11, 54, 209, 358 
Le Tellier, Pere, 102 
Levis, Madame de, 82, 88 
Levisani, Marchesa, 252, 255, 257 
Liria, Condesa de, 310 
Livry, Abbe de, 334-5 
Lorraine, Chevalier de, 3, 4 
Lorraine, Leopold I., Duke of 

159, 321 
Lorraine, Charlotte Elisabeth d 'Or- 
leans, Duchess of, 159, 161, 321 



Louis XIV., 1 et sqq., 19, 58, 194, 
216, 272 ; and his daughter's 
marriage, 3 et sqq., 21 ; and 
family quarrels, 23, 33 et sqq., 
48; honours Mademoiselle, 31-2; 
and the marriage of the Due 
de Berry and Mademoiselle, 
36 et sqq. ; reprimands the Du- 
chesse de Berry, 64, 78, 81 et 
sqq. ; and Monseigneur's illness 
and death, 65 et sqq. ; and 
Court etiquette, 71 ; and the 
Duchesse de Berry's first preg- 
nancy, 76, 77 ; favours he ac- 
cords to Duchesse de Berry by, 
91, 102, 104-5, 109 ; and the 
Due de Berry's death, 95 et sqq.; 
his death, 106, 140 

Louis de France (Monseigneur, 
son of Louis XIV.), 6, 34, 36 
et sqq., 46, 61-2 et sqq., 115, 

Louis de France (son of Louis 
XV.), 338 

Louis XV., 40, 109, 114, 189, 227 
et sqq., 247, 280 et sqq., 309, 315, 
332 et sqq., 328 et sqq., 364, 

Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans, Queen 
of Spain, her birth, 10, 29, 52 ; 
bears the train of Mile, de 
Valois's mantle, 228 ; negotia- 
tions for her marriage with the 
Infant Don Luis, Prince of the 
Asturias, 259, 279 et sqq. ; her 
dowry, 282 ; her betrothal fetes, 
283 ; sets out for Spain, 284 ; 
her unpleasing character, 284-5 ; 
Madame 's portrait of, 285 ; her 
journey to the frontier, 285-6 ; 
exchanged for the Infanta on 
the lie des Faisans, 286-7 » re ~ 
ceived by the King and Don 
Luis at Cogollos, 287-8 ; her 
marriage and its pretended 
consummation, 288 et sqq. ; 
her letter to the Regent, 291 ; 
affectionately welcomed by 
Philip V. and Elizabeth Farnese, 
295 ; falls ill, 296 ; her ex- 
traordinary behaviour, 297-8 ; 
refuses to attend the State 
ball arranged in her honour, 
298 et sqq. ; her incredible 
vulgarity at Saint -Simon's 
farewell audience, 302 ; tem- 

porary improvement in her 
conduct, 303-4 ; affection of 
Don Luis for, 305 ; jealous of 
her younger sister, Mile, de 
Beaujolais, 312-13 ; consum- 
mation of her marriage, 313 ; 
lives on affectionate terms with 
her husband, 313 ; resumes 
her eccentricities, 313-14 ; in- 
dulges in vulgar and malicious 
practical jokes, 314 ; discards 
both stockings and petticoats, 
314 ; becomes Queen of Spain, 
314 ; treats her husband with 
contempt, 320 ; scandalises the 
Court by her eccentric be- 
haviour, 320-1 ; accuses her 
major-domo, FoucaultdeMagny, 
of grossly insulting her, 321 
et sqq. ; antipathy of Elizabeth 
Farnese towards, 323-4 ; curi- 
ous observations of the Marechal 
de Tesse concerning, 324 ; de- 
spair of Luis I. at the conduct 
of, 324-5 ; laughs at his remon- 
strances, 325 ; severely repri- 
manded by Philip V., 325 ; 
her adventure at San Ilde- 
fonso, 325 ; turns her back 
upon her husband, 325 ; con- 
tinues her irregularities, 326 ; 
is conducted to the Alcazar and 
kept in close confinement, 326 
et sqq. ; visited by the Marechal 
de Tesse, 327 ; released and 
restored to favour, 328 ; death 
of her husband, 329 ; her con- 
duct during his last illness, 
330 ; falls ill of smallpox, but 
recovers, 330 ; her pitiable 
situation, 331 ; her return to 
France decided upon, 332 ; 
sets out for France, 335 ; her 
journey, 335-6 ; takes up her 
residence at Vincennes, 336 ; 
in pecuniary difficulties, 337 ; 
removes to the Carmelites of 
the Faubourg Saint-Jacques, 
337 ; goes to live at the Lux- 
embourg, 337 ; her last years 
and death, 337-8 ; her quarrel 
with the Princess of Modena, 

35 1-2 
Luis I., King of Spain, 259, 280 

et sqq., 312 et sqq., 317 et sqq. 
Luynes, Due de [cited), 337-8, 362 




Machiavelli, Marchese Rangoni, 

Magny, Foucault de, 160-1, 321 

et sqq. 
Maine, Due du, 19, 23, 25, 106, 

I 4 I « !53-4- !63. 214 
Maine, Duchesse de, 214, 218 
Maintenon, Madame de, 7, 22, 

26, 36, 38-9, 41-2, 64, 66, 80, 

82, 90, 104-5, 272 
Marais, Mathieu {cited), 127, 277- 

8, 336, 34°. 353. 357 

Margrais, Madame, 195 

Maria Anna of Neuburg (Queen 
of Spain), 285 

Maria Theresa of Austria (Queen 
of Spain), 107 

Marie Leczinska (Queen of Louis 
XV.), 333, 366 

Marini, 214, 216 

Marselot, Madame, 266 

Mary (of Modena, Queen of Eng- 
land), 8, 9, 50 

Maselot, M., 259 

Massillon, Jean Baptiste, 176-7 

Maulevrier, Marquis de, 281-2, 

Mdmoires de Maurepas {cited), 12, 


Mingard, 56 

Miraval, Don Luis de (President 
of Castile), 318 

Modena, Charlotte Aglae d 'Or- 
leans (Mile, de Valois), He- 
reditary Princess, and after- 
wards Duchess, of Modena ; her 
birth, 10, 29 ; sent to the 
Abbey of Chelles, 48, 51 et sqq. ; 
her deceitful disposition, 51, 
207 ; withdrawn from Chelles, 
141, 203 ; present at the con- 
secration of Mile. d'Orleans as 
Abbess of Chelles, 155 et sqq. ; 
makes her appearance in 
Society, 203 ; matrimonial pro- 
jects concerning, 204 ; refuses 
to marry the Prince de Dombes, 
205 ; harshly treated by her 
mother in consequence, 205-6 ; 
sent to her grandmother at 
Saint-Cloud, 206 ; Madame's 
portrait of, 206-7 ; her vio- 
lent passion for the Due de 
Richelieu, 208, 210 et sqq. ; her 

jealousy of Mile, de Charolais, 
212, 214 ; warns Richelieu of 
the discovery of his treasonable 
dealings with Spain, 215-16 ; 
and the arrest of the duke, 217 ; 
visits him in prison, 218-19 .' 
exasperation of Madame at the 
" frightful coquetry " of, 219- 
20 ; failure of the negotiations 
for her marriage with the 
Prince of Piedmont, 220 et 
sqq. ; demanded in marriage 
by Francesco d'Este, Heredi- 
tary Prince of Modena, 222-3 ." 
consents to espouse this prince 
in consideration of the release 
of Richelieu, 224 ; visited se- 
cretly by her liberated gallant, 
225 ; her aversion to the 
marriage arranged for her, 
226; her dowry, 228; her be- 
trothal ceremony, 22S ; her 
marriage, 228-9 ; falls ill of 
measles, which she has pur- 
posely contracted, 230-1 ; her 
despair at leaving France, 231- 
2 ; sets out for Italy, 233 ; her 
retinue, 233 ; her premedi- 
tated delays, 234 ; indulges in 
nightly gambling-orgies, 235 ; 
her strained relations with the 
Duchesse de Villars, 236; ridicu- 
lous passion of the Conte di 
Salvatico for, 237-8 ; incurs 
his implacable enmity by re- 
fusing to listen to him, 238 ; 
her reception at Lyons, 238 ; 
dispenses large sums in alms, 
239 ; visits the Ghetto at 
Avignon, 239 ; and her un- 
worthy favourite, Madame de 
Bacqueville, 239 et sqq. ; arrives 
at Antibes, 242 ; embarks for 
Italy, 243 ; informed of the 
recall of Madame de Bacque- 
ville, 243 ; arrives at Genoa, 
245 ; unpleasantness over the 
payment of her dowry, 246 ; 
received by the Duke of Modena 
and his two sons at Reggio, 
247 ; unfavourably impressed 
by her husband, 247 ; arrives 
at Modena, 248 ; persecuted 
by Salvatico, 249 ; seeks to 
instil a little animation into 
the Court, 250-1 ; reprimanded 



by the Duke, 250 ; falls seri- 
ously ill of smallpox, but re- 
covers, 250-1 ; her marriage not 
yet consummated, 252 ; singu- 
lar relations with her husband, 
253 et sqq. ; severity of the Duke 
of Modena towards, 255 ; goes 
on a pilgrimage to Loretto, 256 ; 
persuades her husband to ily 
with her to France, 257 ; her let- 
ter to her father, 258 ; refused 
by the Regent permission to en- 
ter France, 259 et sqq. ; her de- 
spair, 261 ; returns to Modena, 
262 ; her mortifying reception, 
262 ; Salvatico resumes his 
persecution of, 262-3 '' goes on 
a visit to Lucca, 264 ; again 
refused permission to come to 
France, 265 ; takes up her 
residence with her husband 
near Reggio, 265 ; her anguish 
on learning of the reported 
marriage of the Due de Riche- 
lieu, 266 ; becomes more recon- 
ciled to her lot, 267 ; gives 
birth to a son, 267 ; unfortu- 
nate effect of the Regent's 
death upon her position, 341-2 ; 
her discreet conduct, 342 ; 
tyranny of the Duke of Modena 
towards, 343-4 ; loses her 
little son, 344 ; reconciled to 
her husband, 344 ; flies with 
him to Strasbourg, 344 ; 
obliged to return to Italy, 344 ; 
her intolerable situation, 345 ; 
takes refuge with the French 
resident at Genoa, 345 ; cruel 
indifference of her mother to- 
wards, 346 ; comes to France, 
but is ordered to return, 347 ; 
secures authorisation to visit 
Paris, 348 ; her reception at 
the Palais-Royal, 349 ; odious 
behaviour of her relatives to- 
wards, 349-50 ; insulted by 
the populace, 350 ; quarrels 
with her sister, the Queen of 
Spain, 351-2 ; efforts of her 
relatives to drive her from Paris, 
351—2 ; becomes Duchess of 
Modena, 352 ; returns to Italy, 
353 ; " living the most joyous 
fife possible," 363-4 ; com- 
pelled, by the outbreak of war, 
2 b 2 

to retire to Venice, 364 ; se- 
cures authorisation to return 
to France, 364 ; her enviable 
position at Versailles, 365 ; 
marries her eldest daughter to 
the Due de Penthievre, 365 ; 
occupies herself with her hus- 
band's interests, 365 ; but 
refuses to rejoin him, 366 ; falls 
into disgrace at Court, 366 ; 
returns to Italy, 366 ; her 
death, 366 

Modena, Francesco d'Este, He- 
reditary Prince, and afterwards 
Duke, of, 222 et sqq., 228 et sqq., 
237, 247 et sqq., 252 et sqq., 341 
et sqq. 

Modena, Rinaldo d' Este, Duke of, 
229, 240, 242, 247 et sqq., 257, 
260 et sqq., 352 

Montelano, Duquesa de, 286 

Montespan, Madame de, 3, 19, 24 

Montesquiou, Marechal de, 357 

Morancourt, La, no 

Mouchy, Madame de, 1 12-13, II8 
et sqq., 136, 168 et sqq., 178 et 
sqq., 188, 196 et sqq., 240 

Mouchy, M. de, 197 et sqq. 


Nesle, Madame de, 127, 210 
Neuville, Pere, 351 
Nevers, Duchesse de, 24 
Noailles, Cardinal de (Archbishop 

of Paris), 149, 153. i55~6, l6 9 

et sqq., 179, 224-5, 270 
Noce, Comte de, 14 
Nolent, Mile de, 25 


Orleans, Anne Marie Louise d', 

Mile, de Montpensier (la Grande 

Mademoiselle), 175 
Orleans, Charlotte Aglae. See 

Orleans, Chevalier d' (natural son 

of the Regent), 243, 310 et sqq., 




Orleans, Elisabeth Charlotte, 
Duchesse d' (mother of the 
Regent), 58, 64, 94, 106, 131-2, 
137. 153, 158, 176, 302, 338 ; 
her disapproval of the Regent's 
marriage to Mile, de Blois, 2 
et sqq. ; depicts the character 
of the Regent, 10 et sqq., 14—15, 
22 ; her dislike of the Abbe 
Dubois, 11 ; on the Regent's 
personal appearance, 14 ; her 
dislike of her daughter-in-law, 
20—1, 23, 26 et sqq. ; her fond- 
ness for the Due de Berry, 43 
et sqq. ; offers to take charge of 
her younger grandchildren, 51— 
2 ; her description of the 
Duchesse de Berry, 57 ; her 
grief at Monseigneur's death, 
67 ; reprimands the Duchesse 
de Berry, 78 et sqq., S4 et sqq., 
108; on the Due de Berry's affec- 
tion for his wife, 91 ; and the 
duke's amours, 92-3 ; and the 
duke's death, 95-6, 99 ; her 
anecdote concerning Dr. Chirac, 
97 ; visits Duchesse de Berry, 
1 01 ; on the widowhood of the 
duchess, 103 ; on Madame de 
Mouchy, 119; Duchesse de 
Berry's gluttony described 
by, 135, 181 ; objects to Mile. , 
d'Orleans becoming a nun, 
140, 142, 145 et sqq. ; and the 
proposed marriage between this 
princess and the Prince de 
Dombes ; her account of her con- 
secration at Chelles, 154 et sqq. ; 
is reconciled to the Duchesse de 
Berry, 161-2 ; her funeral 
oration, 177 ; and the Duchesse 
de Berry's marriage to Rion, 
182 ; visits the Duchesse de 
Berry during her last illness, 
183, 185 ; and the Duchesse 
de Berry's death, 191 et sqq. ; 
and Madame de Mouchy's 
heartless behaviour, 199, 201 ; 
and Mile, de Valois's personal 
appearance and character, 204 
et sqq. ; on the Due de Riche- 
lieu's attraction for women, 
208 ; and Richelieu's treason, 
216 ; and Mile, de Valois's 
liaison with Richelieu, 219- 
20 ; and matrimonial projects 

concerning Mile, de Valois, 
221-2, 226, 228, 230 et sqq. ; 
and Salvatico's infatuation for 
Mile, de Valois, 237 ; and Mile. 
de Valois's protracted wedding 
journey, 241-2 ; her portrait of 
Mile, de Montpensier, 285 ; of 
Mile, de Beaujolais, 307; her 
delight at the proposed marriage 
of Mile, de Beaujolais, 309 ; on 
the birth of Louise Diane 
d'Orleans, 361 
Orleans, Francoise Marie de Bour- 
bon, Mile, de Blois, Duchesse d' 
(wife of the Regent), 57, 60, 
106, 132, 136, 166, 168, 233, 
279. 3°2, 311. 336; her be- 
trothal and marriage, 2 et sqq. ; 
her children, 9 ; circumstances 
of her birth, 19 ; her personal 
appearance, 20 ; her conversa- 
tional powers, 20 ; her extra- 
ordinary indolence, 20, 21 ; her 
" almost Satanic " pride, 21 ; 
her relations with her husband, 
21, 22 ; her affection for her 
elder brother, the Due du 
Maine, 23 ; her Court, 23 et sqq.; 
antipathy between her and 
Madame, 25 et sqq. ; her deplor- 
able indifference to her duties 
as a mother, 22, 28 et sqq., 103 ; 
her ambitions for her chil- 
dren, 31 e< sqq. ; her spite, 48 ; 
sends Miles, de Chartres and de 
Valois to the Abbey of Chelles, 
51 et sqq. ; insolence of the 
Duchesse de Berry towards, 
69, 78 et sqq., 107 ; and the 
Due de Berry's death, 97, 99 ; 
visited by Peter the Great, 133 ; marry Mile. d'Orleans 
to the Prince de Dombes, 141 ; 
endeavours to compel her 
daughter to consent, 144, 145; 
indignant at Mile. d'Orleans 
supplanting Madame de Villars 
as Abbess of Chelles, 154 ; 
quarrels violently with her, 
154 ; does not attend her con- 
secration, 155 ; treated with 
more consideration by the 
Duchesse de Berry, 162 ; and 
the Duchesse de Berry's 
marriage to Rion. 182 ; and 
the Duchesse de Berry's last 



illness, 185 et sqq. ; and the 
death of the duchess, 192 ; 
seeks in vain to persuade Mile. 
de Valois to marry the Prince de 
Dombes, 205 ; conceives the 
most intense dislike for her 
daughter, 205 ; endeavours to 
promote the marriage of Mile. 
de Beaujolais, 338 ; her cruel 
indifference to the unhappy 
lot of the Princess of Modena, 
J46 ; endeavours to prevent 
her obtaining authorisation to 
come to Paris, 347 ; her frigid 
reception of her daughter on 
her arrival, 349 ; remonstrates 
with the Abbess of Chelles on 
her heterodox views, 355 ; and 
her youngest daughter's mar- 
riage, 362 
Orleans, Louise Adelaide d' (Mile, 
de Chartres), Abbess of Chelles, 
her birth, 10, 29 ; sent to the 
Abbey of Chelles, 48, 51-2 ; 
attends the betrothal ceremony 
of Mademoiselle, 49 ; her early 
years, 50, 51-2 ; her life at 
Chelles, 139; announces her in- 
tention of taking the veil, 139 ; 
removed from Chelles to the 
Abbey of Montmartre, 139; re- 
ported to have renounced her 
religious aspirations, 139-40 ; 
project of her mother to marry 
her to the Prince de Dombes, 
140 ; makes her appearance in 
society, 140-1 ; her portrait 
by Madame, 14 1-2 ; and the 
singer Cauchereau, 142 ; and 
M. de Saint-Maixent, 142-3 ; 
declines to marry the Prince de 
Dombes, 144 ; harshly treated 
by her mother, 145 ; refused 
permission to become a nun, 
145 ; goes on a visit to the 
Abbey of Chelles, 145-6 ; and 
announces her intention of 
remaining there, 146-7 ; futile 
efforts of the Regent to per- 
suade her to renounce her 
resolution, 147 ; takes the 
habit, 147-8 ; declines to allow 
herself to be nominated Abbess 
of Montmartre, 148 ; pro- 
nounces her vows, 149 ; dis- 
satisfied with the subordinate 

position which she occupies, 
151 ; intrigues against the 
Abbess of Chelles, Madame de 
Villars, 152 ; and obliges her 
to resign her post, 153 ; retires 
temporarily to the Val-de- 
Grace, 153 ; has a violent scene 
with her mother, 153-4 > nomin- 
ated Abbess of Chelles, 154 ; her 
consecration, 155 et sqq.; exe- 
cutes improvements at the con- 
vent, 268 et sqq. ; constitutes 
herself the official protectress of 
the persecuted Jansenists, 270— 
1 ; refuses to renounce her het- 
erodox views, 271 ; defies the 
Regent, 271 ; seeks to conciliate 
him, 271-2 ; transforms her 
abbey from a monastic retreat 
into a kind of country-house, 
272 ; and leads with her nuns 
a life of pleasure, 272-3 ; 
calumnies against, 273, 274 ; 
Saint-Simon's portrait of, 274 ; 
passes on a sudden from dissi- 
pation to austerity, 275 ; visits 
her tomb, 275 ; chansons at her 
expense, 275-6 ; leaves Chelles 
and becomes temporary superior 
of the Val-de-Gra.ce, 276-7 ; 
brief return to worldhness, 
followed by increased austerity, 

277 ; becomes more fervidly 
Jansenist than ever, 277-8 ; 
seeks to convert the Regent, 

278 ; reprimands him for his 
scandalous abuse of his ecclesi- 
astical patronage, 278 ; de- 
prived of her influence by her 
father's death, 354 ; continues 
her efforts on behalf of the 
Jansenists, 355 ; issues a mani- 
festo, which is suppressed by a 
decree of the Council, 355 ; her 
adventure with the Cardinal 
de Bissy, 356-7 ; forbidden to 
leave the Val-de-Grace, 357 ; 
resigns her abbey and retires to 
the priory of the Benedictines 
de la Madeleine du Trainel, 357 ; 
piety of her last years, 358 ; 
her Reflexions morales sur le 
Nouveau Testament, 358-9 ; her 
death, 359 

Orleans, Louise Diane d' (Mile, 
de Chartres), Princesse de Conti, 



her birth, 10, 299, 361 ; her 

appearance and disposition, 
361 ; marries the Prince de 
Conti, 361 ; gives birth to a 
son, 362 ; her death, 362 
Orleans, Louise Elisabeth, Mile, 
de Montpensier. See Louise 
Elisabeth, Queen of Spain 
Orleans, Philippe I., Due d' {Mon- 
sieur), 3 et sqq., 12 
Orleans, Philippe II., Due d' 
Orleans (the Regent), 97-8, 
104, 249, 251, 260 ; gets his 
ears boxed in public by Madame, 
1-2 ; his marriage with Mile, 
de Blois, 2 et sqq. ; his children, 
9-10 ; his birth, 10 ; his 
character, 11; his precocious 
gallantries, 11-12 ; no destroyer 
of domestic felicity, 12 ; his 
treatment of his mistresses, 
13-14 ; and of his *' roues," 14 ; 
his mother's opinion of, 14-15 ; 
remarks of Voltaire concerning! 
15 ; Saint-Simon's portrait of, 
15 et sqq.; his relations with 
his wife, 21-2, 27 ; spoils his 
daughters, 30 ; saves the life of 
his eldest daughter, 30-1 ; his 
singular affection for her, 31, 
69 ; in very bad odour with 
Louis XIV., 17, 36, 69; asks 
the King's consent to Made- 
moiselle's marriage Avith the 
Due de Berry, 40-1 ; sends 
Miles, de Chartres and de 
Valois to the Abbey of Chelles, 
52 ; visits them there, 52 ; 
abominable rumours concern- 
ing his relations with the 
Duchesse de Berry, 73 et sqq., 
92, 100-1, 128 et sqq. ; his 
incredible weakness in the 
affair of the diamond necklace, 
80 ; becomes Regent, 106 ; and 
the extravagant demands of the 
Duchesse de Berry, 107, 109 et 
sqq. ; indignant at the public 
reign of the duchesse's amant en 
titre, the Chevalier de Rion, 125 ; 
but tamely submits to it, 125 ; 
his orgies at the Palais-Royal! 
127-8 ; remonstrates with the 
Duchesse de Berry, 137, 167 ; 
his futile opposition to the 

determination of Mile, d 'Orleans 
to become a nun, 145 et sqq. ; 
consents to her becoming 
Abbess of Chelles, 153-4 : 
attends her consecration, 155 ; 
his conduct during the interest- 
ing event at the Luxembourg, 
168 et sqq.; refuses to consent 
to the declaration of the Duch- 
esse de Berry's marriage with 
the Chevalier de Rion, 180-1 ; 
visits her but twice in three 
weeks, 181 ; his conversation 
with Saint-Simon, 182 ; orders 
Rion to join his regiment, 182 ; 
painful scenes between the 
Duchesse de Berry and, 183 ; 
sups with her at Meudon, 184 ; 
and the duchess's last illness, 
186 et sqq.; and her death, 
1 9 1-2 ; and the officers of her 
Household, 194 ; and her debts, 
195 : and Madame de Mouchy's 
theft of the Duchess's ring-case, 
197 et sqq. ; and Mile, de Valois, 
204 ; indignant at her intrigue 
with the Due de Richelieu, 213 ; 
deprived of a mistress by 
Richelieu, 213 ; and Riche- 
lieu's treasonable dealings with 
Spain, 216 et sqq.; pretends 
that he is resolved to bring the 
duke to trial, 217-18 ; anxious 
to marry Mile, de Valois to 
some foreign prince, 220 ; and 
the proposed alliance between 
her and the Prince of Pied- 
mont, 220-1 ; and the Prince 
of Modena's proposal for her 
hand, 222-3; accords her the 
liberty of Richelieu, in return 
for her consent to this marriage, 
223-4 I his contribution to her 
dowry, 228 ; takes her to say 
farewell to Madame, 231-2 ; 
accompanies her on the first 
stage of her journey, 233 ; 
remonstrates with her on her 
continual delays, 236 ; recalls 
her favourite, Madame de Bac- 
queville, 240 et sqq.; singular 
letters of the Abbe Colibeaux 
to, 253 et sqq. ; sends Chavigny 
to investigate the matrimonial 
difficulties of the Princess of 
Modena, 254-5 ; his letters to 



him, 258, 261 ; refuses her and j 
her husband permission to come 
to France, 259 et sqq., 264 ; 
remonstrates with the Duke of 
Modena on his treatment of the 
prince and princess, 265 ; en- 
deavours to persuade the Abbess 
of Chelles to renounce her 
Jansenist views, 271 ; exiles 
her almoner, P6re Ledoux, 271 ; 
a frequent visitor at Chelles, 
272, 273 ; calumnies concerning 
the Abbess and, 274 ; visits her 
at the Val-de-Grace, 277 ; repri- 
manded by her for his abuse of 
his ecclesiastical patronage, 
278 ; his death, 279, 314, 340, 
354 ; his Spanish policy, 277, 
280 ; negotiates the marriage 
of Louis XV. to the Infanta 
Aila Victoria and of Mile, de 
Montpensier to the Prince of 
the Asturias, 280 et sqq. ; his 
contribution to Mile, de Mont- 
pensier's dowry, 282 ; accom- 
panies her on the first stage of 
her journey to Spain, 285 ; her 
letter to, 291 ; laughs heartily 
on hearing of her incredible 
vulgarity, 303 ; negotiates the 
marriage of Mile, de Beaujolais 
to Don Carlos, 307 et sqq. ; letter 
of Elizabeth Farnese to, 311 ; 
resemblance of the Duchess of 
Modena to, 364 
Orleans, Philippine Elisabeth d' 
(Mile, de Beaujolais), her birth, 
10, 279 ; her beauty and 
amiable character, 307 ; nego- 
tiations for her marriage to the 
Infant Don Carlos, 259, 307 et 
sqq. ; her dowry, 310 ; her trous- 
seau, 310; sets outfor Spain, 310; 
her reception at Madrid, 311 ; 
mutual affection of her and her 
fiance, 311 ; letters of Eliza- 
beth Farnese concerning, 311 ; 
conquers all hearts, 312 ; ex- 
cites the jealousy of her elder 
sister, the Princess of the As- 
turias, 313 ; rupture of the mar- 
riage arranged between her 
and Don Carlos, 335 ; is sent 
back to France, 335 ; her 
journey, 335-6 ; remains faith- 
ful to Don Carlos, 338 ; is 

" the occupation of his days and 
the torment of his nights," 
339 ; her death, 340 

Parabdre, Madame de, 12, 126 

et sqq. 
Penthievre, Due de, 365 
Penthievre, Duchesse de, 365-6 
Pescatori, Laura, 308, 318 
Peter the Great, 133-4 
Peze, M. de, 290 
Phalaris, Madame de, 13 
Philibert, Abb6, 259, 261, 263-4 
Philip V., King of Spain, 17, 34, 

214, 279 et sqq., 287 et sqq., 329 

et sqq., 338, 364 
Piche, Madame, 215, 252-3, 256, 

Piedmont, Prince of, 220-1 
Polignac, Comtesse de, 118, 127, 

Pompadour, Marquise de, 88-9, 

97. 363 
Pons, Madame de, 105, 117-18 
Prie, Marquise de, 333 


Racine, 272, 358 
Rangoni, Marchesa, 256 
Ratzamhausen, Madame de, 155 
Razilly, Marquis de, 44, 82 
Richelieu, Due de, 127, 208 et sqq., 
214 et sqq., 223 et sqq., 251, 
265-6, 364 
Riglet, Pere, 123 

Rion, Chevalier de (lover and 
afterwards husband of the 
Duchesse de Berry), 108, 117 
et sqq., 162 et sqq., 168 et sqq., 

192, 200 et sqq., 227 
Rochefoucauid-Roye, Chevalier 

de la, 82, 88, 107, in, 116, 

Rochefoucauld-Roye, Madame de 

la, 1 12-13 
Roche-sur-Yon, Mile, de la, 154, 

193, 34 8 



Rohan, Cardinal de, 228, 265, 342 
Rohan, Chevalier de, 216 
Rohan, Madame de (Abbess of 

Jouarre), 356-7 
Rohan-Soubise, Prince de, 286-7 
Rolland (cited), 96, 99-101 
Rothembourg, Comte de, 338 
Rue, Pere de la, 99 
Rulhiere (cited), 210 

Sabran, Madame de (mistress of 

the Regent), 12, 229 
Sabran, Marquis de, 229 
Saint- Jacques, Faubourg, the 

Carmelite convent of, 124 et 

sqq., 162, 169, 198 
Saint - Maixent, Chevalier de, 


Sainte-Maure, Comte de, 82, 

Saint-Pierre, Due de, 24, 133 
Saint-Pierre, Duchesse de, 24, 


Saint-Simon, Due de (cited), 8, 
15 et sqq., 20, 22, 24, 34, 37, 40, 
43. 45. 57 et sqq., 67, 69, 74 
et sqq., 86, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100, 
108, 111-12, 117-18, 123, 130, 
147, 150-1, 164, 168, 170 et sqq., 
180, 182 et sqq., 187 et sqq., 198 
et sqq., 202, 221, 230, 275, 278, 
283, 288 et sqq., 293, 296 et sqq., 
3°6, 358 

Saint-Simon, Duchesse de, 45, 47, 
50, 60, 64, 69, 70, 75-6, 137, 
147, 168, 197 et sqq. 

Saint-Simon, Mile, de, 193 

Saint- Viance, M. de, 137 

Salvatico, Conte di, 223, 228, 237- 
8, 240 et sqq., 246, 248 et sqq., 
255, 262 et sqq., 267 

Salvert, M. de, 94 

Santa -Cruz, Marques de, 286-7, 

Saumery, M. de, 160 
Sebastien, Pere, 269 
Sens, Mile, de, 361 
Sforza, Duchess, 24, 28 
Simiane, Chevalier de, 126 
Simiane, Madame de, 233, 236 
Simonetti, Marchesa, 366 

Soubise, Princesse de, 284, 286 

Soulavie, Abbe de (cited), 127, 209, 
210, 213, 215, 218, 266-7, 

Souris, La (mistress of the Re- 
gent), 213 

Stanhope, Lord, 309, 321, 334 

Tallard, Duchesse de, 336 
Tencin, Madame de, 13 
Terrat, M., 149 
Tesse, Marechal de, 295, 314-15, 

324, 326 et sqq. 
Thianges, Duchesse de, 24 
Toulouse, Comte de, 19, 23, 25, 

I3 6 . l6 3. 365 
Tresme, Due de, no 
Trevoux, Pere de, 102, 271 
Trudon, M., 114 


Ursins, Princesse des, 292 

Valero, 326 

Valhere, Louise de la, 3, 124 
Vaudreuil, Madame de, 89 
Vauxcelles, Abbe de, 120 
Vendome, Louis Due de, 18 
Vendome, Philippe de (Grand 

Prior of France), 18 
Ventadour, Duchesse de, 284, 

Victor Amadeus II. of Savoy 

(King of Sardinia), 220, 

Vienne, Mile, de (favourite of the 

Duchesse de Berry), 79, 81-2, 

Vieuville, Madame de la, 47, 97, 

Villars, Agnes de, 54, 151 et sqq., 

268, 270 



Villars, Duchesse de, 230, 233, 
236, 240, 242 et sqq., 246-7 

Villars, Marechal de, 52, 153 

Villeroy, Marechal de, 109, 233, 

Vivonne, Due de, 24 

Voisin, Mile., 50 

Voltaire, 15, 129 ct sqq. 
Vrilliere, Due de la, 200 


Wales, Princess of, 361 




„„ -jBE 1A8* VASS 

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